The Italian led the club back into Ligue 1 last season and they currently sit second in the standings – but Wednesday’s Coupe de France loss to Guingamp has sealed his fate
By Wayne Veysey in London and Simone Rovera in Paris
Claudio Ranieri is set to pay the price for Monaco’s trophy-less season by being axed as coach at the end of the season.
The big-spending French club are looking for a new boss as they prepare to make a concerted challenge to the growing dominance in France of Paris Saint-Germain, as well as establish themselves as a force in Europe.
Ranieri, who took over in 2012, steered Monaco to promotion to Ligue 1 in his first season at the helm and they currently lie second in the top flight. However, their French Cup semi-final defeat to Guingamp on Wednesday night means they will end the campaign without a major honour.
The Monaco hierarchy, led by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, have decided to dispense with Ranieri as they set their sights on a coach who can make even more of the club’s vast resources.
With Rybolovlev’s backing, a huge recruitment drive has brought a series of marquee players to French principality, including Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho, Dimitar Berbatov, Jeremy Toulalan, James Rodriguez, Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abidal.
The Monaco board had hoped that the team could present a greater challenge to league leaders PSG, who are 10 points clear in Ligue 1 with five matches remaining.
Ranieri’s job will be regarded as a plum post around Europe, with super-agent Jorge Mendes, who represents Falcao, Moutinho, Rodriguez and Carvalho, expected to be an influential voice in the selection of a successor.
Goal understands that former West Brom manager Steve Clarke is among those ready to throw their names into the hat to replace Ranieri.
Since being sacked by Chelsea in 2004, the 62-year-old Italian has coached Valencia, Parma, Juventus, Roma and Inter as well as Monaco.