Football: Monaco move to fill PSG-bound Kylian Mbappe void with Keita Balde and Stevan Jovetic signings

Montenegro's Stevan Jovetic celebrates scoring their fourth goal to complete his hat-trick during the 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone at Podgorica City Stadium in Podgorica, on June 10, 2017.
Montenegro's Stevan Jovetic celebrates scoring their fourth goal to complete his hat-trick during the 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone at Podgorica City Stadium in Podgorica, on June 10, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Monaco (AFP) - French champions Monaco raided Italy's Serie A to sign Senegal forward Keita Balde and Montenegro international striker Stevan Jovetic on Tuesday, from Lazio and Inter Milan respectively.

22-year-old Balde has made 12 international appearances for his country and joined the principality side on a five-year deal for a reported €30 million (S$48 million) after impressing with 16 goals in the Italian top-flight last season, despite making only 21 starts.

"I'm very happy to be signing for AS Monaco, a club with a great history," he said. "When you get the chance to come here, you accept straight away. It's the ideal project for me. I'm very happy to be joining a strong squad, with big players who had a brilliant season last year."

The 27-year-old Montenegro captain Jovetic also looks set to inherit the No. 10 shirt worn by Mbappe, with the teen sensation's mega-money move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) expected imminently.

Jovetic, who has signed a four-year deal with Leonardo Jardim's men, started out with Partizan Belgrade before joining Serie A side Fiorentina.

He had a spell with Manchester City and was loaned out by Inter to Spanish LaLiga club Sevilla last season.

"He has developed in the big leagues and has experience at the highest level," said Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev.

"We're convinced that he'll find here the conditions to fully express his ability."

Monaco, who also reached the Champions League semi-finals last term, have made an excellent start to their Ligue 1 title defence this month, and like rivals PSG have won all four of their opening games.