Kylian Mbappe. Great player. Great performance at the weekend.
It led to a few Arsenal fans saying “we should have signed him last summer”.
Well we tried. And we went big.
We were rumoured to have offered £80m to Monaco last year. A huge sum for an 18 year old. The deal never went through and he joined PSG on loan for a year with an agreement that they will pay over twice that this summer – £166m.
Instead Arsenal signed Alexandre Lacazette and in January Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The pair cost Arsenal a combined fee of just over £100m.
So the money was there to go higher than £80m for Mbappe, but Arsenal didn’t.
Personally, I am more than happy in having Lacazette and Aubameyang instead.
Mbappe might turn out to be better than the pair (he arguably is already better than Lacazette, but not yet on Aubameyang’s level). But we got two instead of one, adding real depth to our striker force.
I honestly think that with the two of them, and Danny Welbeck as 3rd choice striker, Arsenal have the most strength in depth up top in the Premier League.
What a lot of people seem to forget with Mbappe is last summer was not the year we could have got him for a few hundred thousand. That was the year before when he was just 17 years old.
In the summer of 2016 we were very close to signing him. Arsene Wenger even met with his parents. In the end he decided to stay with Monaco – signing a new contract with the French club.
It reminds me a lot of the Ivan Rakitic to Arsenal story that broke recently.
At 16 years old, Rakitic has a trial with Arsenal. He also had interest from Juventus and Chelsea. He decided to remain with Basel as he did not want to be just another young talented kid at a high profile club.
Two years on and he joined Schalke, turning down offers from Barcelona and AC Milan. Again, his decision was based on playing first team football.
Mbappe has already broken into the Monaco first team. In 2016 he decided to stay with the club and play week in week out with them rather than join Arsenal.
At the time had he joined Arsenal he would have been behind Alexis Sanchez in the pecking order.
Role on a year and Arsenal had the £80m interest in him once more. A year older, Wenger now saw him as a Sanchez replacement; rather than a you player with potential.
Sanchez did not leave and Mbappe joined PSG on loan with a huge transfer set to be completed this summer.
“But he is a striker and better than Olivier Giroud” some moan.
You are wrong.
For Monaco he played outwide with Falco in the middle as a focal point. For France he players one side of Giroud (with Antoine Griezmann the other side) and for PSG he plays wide of Edison Cavani.
Mbappe would have come to Arsenal to replace Sanchez, not to play down the middle.
It should also be remembered that Mbappe is a Parisian. A PSG fan born in the French capital.
There is talk this summer that PSG might pull out of a deal to sign Mbappe. I would be very surprised as he is their future.
There will be yearly speculation about Neymar to Real Madrid. In Mbappe they have a Paris born player; the future of France.
If PSG do pull, I think it will be a battle of the Spanish clubs for his signature.
Barcelona need someone having missed out on Griezmann, and Real Madrid need a marque signing if they fail to land Neymar or Eden Hazard.
Mbappe is going to be a brilliant player – he reminds me a lot of Michael Owen’s break through in 1998.
Let’s focus on who we are buying this summer, not who we could have signed 2 years ago.
The future is bright at Arsenal. Let’s embrace it.