AS Monaco presented four new signings on Thursday, a good few days after the transfer window had closed.
Logistics had prevented an earlier unveiling, and most of the interest had dropped, these are players everyone knew had signed for Monaco anyway, the photo-call and press conference didn’t generate much excitement.
As part of L’Equipe’s coverage of the event, they take a few words from Rachid Ghezzal, who it’s stated by the French newspaper was of interest to Southampton and Stoke City: “I wanted to take my time to choose the best option for me. I did well to be patient, to play in the Champions League this year and join the champions of France is an evolution for me.”
Southampton and Stoke had been grouped together in their Ghezzal interest for a while. In early August, L’Equipe linked them, and Sport Witness covered the claims: ‘Stoke City and Southampton have been ‘particularly’ prominent in their chase of Ghezzal this year, with L’Equipe saying the Saints recently met the player’s entourage in France.
Southampton haven’t been entirely convinced after that meeting but have continued to question whether they should go through with a deal. Time is running out, and L’Equipe say Ghezzal has ‘no more time to lose’.
With Monaco moving forward, and Southampton stuttering, the French principality club are the likelier destination.’
That’s how things turned out, with Southampton clearly not showing strong enough interest to flatter Ghezzal, and Stoke standing further back. Whether that decision was correct will be proven over the coming seasons.