Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/10/13
AS Monaco is determined to return to Ligue 1 and do so with a bang. The French club wants to sign Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri ahead of next season’s anticipated return to the French top flight. It is willing to spend £35 million ($55.3 million) this summer on the Manchester City pair, according to Goal.com. “The ambitious Ligue 2 leaders are vying for a return to the French top flight following their shock relegation in 2011 and, bankrolled by billionaire Dimitry Rybolovlev, are already making ambitious plans for next season which involve a double raid on the Premier League champions,” the report says. “The Russian businessman, ranked the 93rd richest man in the world, is determined to put the former Champions League finalists back on the football map and rival the supremacy of fellow big spenders Paris Saint-Germain.” Led by former Chelsea and Juventus manager Claudio Ranieri, AS Monaco is looking to end its two-year absence from Ligue 1 and embark on a bright new era. Rybolovlev’s riches and Monaco’s status as a tax haven could entice top players to join the club. Tevez and Nasri were important pieces of City’s 2011-12 Premier League title-winning squad, but this season has cast doubt over their futures at the club. Second-placed City trails Manchester United by 12 points, and manager Roberto Mancini could be cast aside. The reigning Premier League champion is also expected to rebuild its squad this summer. Monaco could simultaneously raid City and help fund its next project. Tevez will be a free agent after the 2013-14 season, and it’s unlikely that he’ll sign an extension before then. The 29-year-old has wanted to return to his native Argentina to play for boyhood club Boca Juniors for some time, but City’s asking price is too high. He will remain in Europe through next season before heading back to South America, but an important question remains: Where will “El Apache” [Tevez] play next season?” City might sell the star forward to ease the cost of replacing him rather than seeing him leave for free. Nasri, 25, is enduring a difficult second season at City. He was a regular starter in the early months of the season, but he seemingly fell out of favor after City’s 3-2 loss against Manchester United on Dec. 9. Nasri’s agent said the criticism his client received after that game left him “isolated” within the club. Those comments sparked speculation about Nasri’s long-term future, and a return to France (he was a product of the Olympique Marseille youth system) could be in the works. The reported price of the double transfer pales in comparison to what PSG has spent in the last 18 months. Nevertheless, adding Tevez and Nasri would improve any squad. It would also serve as statement of ambition and intent from a club rising from the depths of the recent past. Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag. Photo via Facebook/Samir Nasri

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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