Arsene Wenger’s search for his next superstar has taken him to a familiar destination in his home country in France. He is interested in bringing Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe to the Emirates Stadium, according to a report today in Le 10 Sport.
Mbappe is only 18 and has already drawn comparisons with Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry. The latter was managed by Wenger briefly during his days at Monaco before being signed by his compatriot in the Premier League. Henry went on to spend 8 seasons at Arsenal, and is the club’s highest goalscorer of all time.
Wenger says that he sees a similar level of potential in Mbappe, who earlier this season scored the first hattrick by a Monaco player in any competition since 1997. He has played 11 times for the French under-19 side, and has 7 goals. Last season, he broke Henry’s record for being both the youngest debutant and the youngest goalscorer for Monaco. There is still a long long way to go for the youngster, but a move to a top club could do him a world of good.
In the summer of 2015, 18 year-old Anthony Martial was signed by Manchester United for £36 million, a record fee for a teenager. It remains to be seen if Arsenal value Mbappe higher than that.
Wenger was quoted as saying:
Yes, we follow him and we know him very well and he is growing well. He has extended his contract in the last season so Monaco will decide his future. Mbappé is not exactly Thierry Henry but it is true that he has similar qualities. The talent and potential are similar. Does he have the same level of motivation, desire and intelligence that Thierry had? The next two or three years will tell us.
Arsenal currently have three strikers in their first team – Olivier Giroud, Lucas Perez and Yaya Sanogo. Alexis Sanchez has already played up front this season, to great success. There is a sense though, that Arsenal are still missing a forward who will win them the Premier League. With several Arsenal fans growing tired of Wenger and his transfer policies, it will be interesting to see how they react if he signs another youngster with potential rather than a proven, world-class frontman.