STRIKER – 18 – FRENCH – AS MONACO
Image from skysports.com
He’s one of the world’s hottest prospects, with some of the biggest names in the world after his signature, but it seems like, after a long summer of speculation, that Kylian Mbappé will be joining the ranks of Paris St Germain to create arguably the most frightening strike force in the world. Having been left out of the Monaco squad for their last two matches, it’s clear that his head has finally been turned by the PSG interest, after being linked to moves to the Premier League and La Liga. The fee for the player is also widely speculated with some sources stating that a bid of £138 million plus a player is on the table, while others claim that a loan bid with a view to buy has been submitted by last year’s Ligue 1 runners-up.
Mbappé’s Miracle Year
Mbappé made his Ligue 1 debut for Monaco in December 2015, while he was still on a youth contract at the club. He became the club’s youngest ever appearance maker at 16 years and 347 days, a record that was held by none other than Thierry Henry. He also became Monaco’s youngest ever goal-scorer a few months later, but that goal in February against Troyes proved to be his only goal of the season. He was in and out of the Monaco first team in the first half of last season but at Christmas time, he broke through in sensational circumstances, not only shocking the French league in the process, but also the entire footballing world. Hat-tricks against Rennes in the cup and Metz in the league set him on his way to stardom, while also contributing in crucial fashion in Monaco’s run to the Champions League semi-finals, with important goals against Man City and Dortmund. His fine form was rewarded with a call up to the French national side, but has yet to score for Les Bleus.
PSG’s Potential Predator
After the completion of the Neymar deal from PSG to Barcelona, one would have thought that the spending would slow down at the Parc des Princes. However, with the Mbappé saga now reaching its conclusion, PSG look like a real force this season. A potential front three of Neymar, Mbappé and Angel Di Maria is a nightmare for defenders, with each player containing a fierce combination of pace, trickery and flair. If this team can gel together quickly, there’s nothing to suggest that Les Parisiens can’t win the Champions League this year. The only negative for PSG on a transfer point of view is the loss of Blaise Matuidi to Juventus, especially considering that he was a cheap sale at £18 million. Matuidi was the heart and soul of that PSG midfield, and with Thiago Motta turning 35 at the end of this month, it may take a long time, or a lot of money, to replace the French international’s presence at the club.
What’s the fee? And is he worth it?
In my opinion, it doesn’t look like the French striker will be moving on a loan move with a view to buy. Yes, it seems logical due to the amount of money spent by PSG already this summer; as they are looking to meet UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, but can Monaco really afford to let him go on a temporary basis this summer. The bid of £138 million plus a player seems about right, with Monaco having the choice of signing one of Lucas Moura, Julian Draxler or Javier Pastore at the expense of their star striker. It also seems like a good deal for the current French champions, as they still have Falcao within their ranks, who already has five league goals to his name this season, and is part of a strike force which still includes the likes of Thomas Lemar, Youri Tielemans and Rachid Ghezzal. Add one of Lucas, Draxler or Pastore to the mix and Monaco still have a squad capable of retaining their league title.
However, a debate always arises as to whether a player is really worth his transfer fee, especially in this inflated transfer market. It is true that Mbappé is one of the hottest strikers, let alone youngsters, in the world right now, but some have argued that his reputation is based on only six months of professional football. That statement is also true, but the potential that he has is off the scale, and sometimes, as a fan, you just know when a player is going to become a superstar. With Mbappé still in his teens, and Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi now over the age of 30, we have a potential future Ballon D’Or winner on our hands here, and these type of players, in this day and age, should be labeled with a price tag that is over £100 million.