Arsenal are notorious for giving young players a chance on the big stages of English and European football. The club loves to see youth talent rise into exceptional stars and we have many famous names both past and present that have gone on to become something special in the future, either at Arsenal or elsewhere.
For as notorious as Arsenal are for youth talents, Arsene Wenger is the same but with French prodigies, especially when it comes to those playing in Ligue 1. This time around its Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe who is on Le Prof’s transfer rumour radar, after showing some exceptional talent in the French division.
18 year old Mbappe is regarded as a top talent in European football right now and he has broken Henry’s record that previously named the Gunners’ legend as Monaco’s youngest ever player and goalscorer. It’s a good achievement to have and one that is already attracting plenty of attention. Wenger is surely just one of many managers keeping a close eye on Mbappe’s progress, but Le Prof has gone one step further in speaking about the young player’s talent.
Wenger said: “He is not exactly Thierry Henry but it is true that he has similar qualities and the future and talent is similar. It now depends on whether he has the same desire, intelligence and motivation that Thierry had. The next two or three years will tell us that. But the first signs are very promising. [Asked about Arsenal’s interest] Yes, of course we are following him. We know him very well.”
Mbappe has had a strong start to the campaign, having got six goals and seven assists in 19 games. It’s a good return for a player of 18 years old and although it may be in the French divisions, it’s still a tough job for a player to be achieving those stats on his own at that age. Not to forget he’s also had these comparisons to the legendary Thierry Henry on his shoulders for the past year or so.
Wenger is right not to hype the player up to Henry’s level just yet. Let’s not forget that Henry’s career wasn’t looking too promising at Juventus before Arsene Wenger brought him to England. One of the biggest problems with football is the amount of pressure the media, fans and managers put on young players these days; and often they don’t live up to the expectations.
Both Henry and Wenger have had an association with Monaco in the past and subsequently relationships will be strong between Monaco and Arsenal. Right now I think all Arsenal need are some big name players that will ultimately strengthen the side, but also get the fans pumped and bring a breath of fresh air to the team. However if Wenger is going to identify a youth player or two that he wants to bring in, then I see no reason as to why Mbappe shouldn’t be on the Frenchman’s transfer wish list.