Monaco hire Club Brugge coach Philippe Clement to replace Niko Kovac

AS Monaco appointed coach Philippe Clement on a two-and-a-half year deal on Monday after firing Niko Kovac during the midseason break.

Sources previously told ESPN that American coach Jesse Marsch, who is a free agent after being sacked by RB Leipzig last month, was a leading candidate for the Monaco job, but French club opted for Clement.

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Monaco said in a statement that the 47-year-old Clement signed on until June 2024 from Belgian side Club Brugge.

"His ability to bring the best out of young and talented squads while meeting higher and higher objectives throughout his career, make him the fitting person [to] bring Monaco back into the elite of French soccer and on the European scene," Monaco vice president Oleg Petrov said.

Clement played 333 games, and scored 45 goals, as a defender for Brugge. He took charge in June 2019 and won two Belgian league titles to make it three in a row, after winning with Genk the previous season.

"Thanks coach and lots of good luck!" Brugge said in a Twitter post.

Kovac was told he was being replaced on Thursday, with the club sixth in the league after 19 games, following a third-place finish last season.

Reserve team coach Stephane Nado took charge of Monaco on Sunday for a French Cup win at second-tier Quevilly-Rouen, as last season's runner-up reached the last 16.

Monaco started badly with one win from six league games, and that was against promoted side Troyes.

Monaco hired Kovac after firing Roberto Moreno in June 2020, citing the former Croatia midfielder's success while coaching Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt and his own national team.

Although he led Bayern to a league and cup double in 2019, he was fired in November of that year.