Jovetic, Balde join Monaco to fill Mbappe void

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MONACO: French champions Monaco raided Serie A to sign Senegal forward Keita Balde and Montenegrin international striker Stevan Jovetic on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), from Lazio and Inter Milan respectively.

Balde, 22, who has made 12 international appearances, joined on a five-year deal for a reported 30 million euros ($35.9m) after impressing with 16 goals in the Italian top flight last season, despite making only 21 starts.

“I’m very happy to be signing for AS Monaco, a club with a great history,” he said.

“When you get the chance to come here, you accept straight away. It’s the ideal project for me. I’m very happy to be joining a strong squad, with big players who had a brilliant season last year.”

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The 27-year-old Montenegro captain Jovetic is set to inherit the number 10 shirt worn by Mbappe, with the teen sensation’s mega-money move to Paris Saint-Germain expected imminently.

Jovetic, who has signed a four-year deal with Leonardo Jardim’s men, started out with Partizan Belgrade before joining Serie A side Fiorentina.

He had a spell with Manchester City and was loaned out by Inter to Sevilla last season.

“He has developed in the big leagues and has experience at the highest level,” said Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev.

“We’re convinced that he’ll find here the conditions to fully express his ability.”

Monaco, who also reached the Champions League semi-finals last term, have made an excellent start to their Ligue 1 title defense this month, and like rivals PSG have won all four of their opening games.

AFP

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