Let the spending begin: Monaco announce arrival on European stage with €70m deal for Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez

Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez join French side from Porto

Monaco have announced themselves as the latest player among the mega-rich football clubs in European football by signing two Premier League targets.

The Ligue 1 side, who were only promoted to France's top-flight earlier this month, have captured Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez from Porto.

Moutinho has been a long term target for Tottenham, with Andre Villas-Boas close to securing the Portugal international's services last summer. The north London club were fully expected to rekindle their interest in the 26-year-old this summer.

21-year-old winger Rodriguez is considered one of the hottest prospects plying his trade in Europe and had been linked with a move to Manchester United.

The deal for the pair cost Monaco €70m, €45m for Rodriguez and €25m for Moutinho, with both players signing five-year deals.

A statement published on fcporto.pt read: "FC Porto have reached an agreement with Monaco of the French league for the permanent transfer of Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez.

"To secure the players' registrations, Monaco pay 70 million euros (45 for James, 25 for Moutinho) in what happens to be the biggest deal in the history of Portuguese football.

"FC Porto thanks Moutinho and Rodriguez for their dedication and professionalism.

"(They) represented our colours for three successful seasons and in that period helped win three championships, one Portuguese Cup and the Europa League.

"FC Porto wish both of them the best of luck."

The news signals the start of what could be a fascinating, and expensive, summer in the transfer market.

Monaco, who were bought last season by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev and are managed by former Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri,  are not expected to stop with Moutinho and Rodriguez. There is talk that they will meet the £60m buy-out clause in Radamel Falcao's Atletico Madrid contract.

Should they complete a move for the Colombian international, it will be a major blow for Chelsea, who have long been linked with the 27-year-old striker.

Other major deals this summer could involve Wayne Rooney, who has asked for a transfer away from Manchester United. Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski is also expected to switch clubs while there is also talk of Brazilian wonderkid Neymar going to Barcelona.

The futures of Gareth Bale, Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are also under speculation and the confirmation today that Monaco are ready to back up their ambition with financial clout means there is a new potential destination for the world's best paid players.

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