Takumi Minamino, Monaco

Minamino set for Monaco league debut in Strasbourg

Minamino set for Monaco league debut in Strasbourg

Publish on 08/04 at 18:16 - S. TELFORD


Takumi Minamino could make his Ligue 1 Uber Eats debut for AS Monaco at RC Strasbourg Alsace on Saturday, with Liverpool's loss the principality side's gain.

RC Strasbourg Alsace - AS Monaco


- kick-off: 15:00 GMT




Minamino swapped Liverpool for Monaco at the end of June, and was later joined by Borussia Monchengladbach's Breel Embolo among the attacking reinforcements at the Stade Louis II this summer.


The pair were given competitive debuts in the first leg of Monaco's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round clash with PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday - a 1-1 draw in which Axel Disasi cancelled out Joey Veerman's opener 10 minutes from time.


Still strong post-Tchouameni


Aurélien Tchouameni may have left in a mega-money move for Real Madrid, while fellow midfielders Cesc Fàbregas and Jean-Eudes Aholou have also departed for Como and Saturday's opponents Strasbourg respectively, but Les Rouge et Blanc can remain confident of progression ahead of next Tuesday's second leg.


They beat PSV on their last trip to Eindhoven, Myron Boadu and Sofiane Diop on target in a 2-1 win at the Philips Stadion in October 2021, while the addition of Minamino to their attacking midfield ranks is a serious boon according to Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell.


Watch: Highlights of Strasbourg's 1-0 win over Monaco in March

"We're the second youngest team in French football and one of the youngest in Europe, and with Taki we wanted to bring a bit more of a mature element, who was multifunctional," he told Sky Sports.


"Monaco has to be playing in the big games in Europe too, so we should have profiles like Taki Minamino, who are exciting and offensive."


Monaco have to get past Strasbourg before next week's second leg, of course - no mean feat considering Le Racing haven't lost to Saturday's visitors in three meetings stretching back to September 2020. Philippe Clement also has a host of first-team regulars missing.


Volland, Golovin suspended


Kevin Volland and Aleksander Golovin are suspended for Monaco's league opener following an accumulation of bookings from last season. Minamino could line up at No.10 as a result.


Defenders Benoît Badiashile and Caio Henrique have a foot injury and positive COVID test to contend with respectively, meanwhile.


Strasbourg only finished three places and six points behind third-placed Monaco last season - only narrowly missing out on European football - but their coach Julien Stéphan is taking his opponents' injury list with a pinch of salt.


Stéphan: 'Monaco look fine'


"I found that Monaco looked physically very well on Tuesday," he said at his pre-match press conference. "We know the personnel this club have. They're built to play at the top of the table and in Europe. We'll have to be efficient in every area of the game."


Strasbourg may not have had any continental obligations, but they have shone in pre-season, beating Minamino's former employers Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield in their last outing before this Ligue 1 Uber Eats opener, Adrien Thomasson scoring a brace.

Thomasson will be surrounded by a full-strength team at the Stade de la Meinau, with youngsters Moïse Sahi and Mouhamadou Diarra Strasbourg's only slight injury doubts apart from the out of favour Lebo Mothiba, who is ill.


As well as Aholou, who has made his loan deal from Monaco permanent, Strasbourg have picked up full-backs Colin Dagba, Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel and Thomas Delaine from Paris Saint-Germain, Mainz and FC Metz respectively this summer.


Delaine is expected to get the nod on the left with club captain Dimitri Liénard out of favour. Dagba and Pierre-Gabriel have been signed to assuage the loss caused by Frédéric Guilbert's return to Aston Villa. With Dagba struggling for match fitness, Pierre-Gabriel should get the nod on the right.


Possible teams


Strasbourg: Sels; Perrin, Nyamsi, Djiku; Pierre-Gabriel, Aholou, Bellegarde, Liénard; Thomasson; Diallo, Ajorque


Monaco: Nubel; Aguilar, Disasi, Maripan, Jakobs; Fofana, Matazo; Vanderson, Minamino, Diop; Ben Yedder


Photo credit: AS Monaco