Arsenal have not given up chasing France and Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe, Arsenal insiders say they would be ready to meet Monaco’s price-tag of £85m, the club’s pitch to Mbappe will be that he will play every week at Arsenal and he will play as a centre-forward.
Arsenal have not given up chasing Monaco’s teenage starlet Kylian Mbappe even though there is an acceptance within the club that the continued uncertainty over Arsene Wenger’s future means that they could end up at the back of the queue for summer signings.
Monaco will demand €100million (£85m) for the 18-year-old who has been the outstanding teenager in the Champions League this season but with Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United all keen, Arsenal are likely to find themselves frustrated once again.
However, Arsenal insiders say that they would pay the required amount – which would amount to more than double the current transfer record of £40m paid for Mesut Ozil.
Their pitch to Mbappe will be that he will play every week at Arsenal – which is unlikely at Real Madrid – and that he will play as a centre forward, where he may be forced out wide at other clubs.
Arsenal’s only other hope is that they attempted to sign the player when he was 16 and have wanted him for three years now. Wenger last week told beIN Sports that he visited Mbappe’s home last year to persuade him to come Arsenal.
However, given the calibre of clubs now interested and Arsenal’s diminished status, with Champions League football unlikely, that is likely to count for little.
In previous times, Wenger’s nationality and links with Monaco might have helped Arsenal. But now the uncertainty over his future means that all of Arsenal’s summer transfer plans are in limbo, with agents and players keen to know who will be the new manager before they commit.
Arsenal will chase a centre forward and will make fresh approaches to Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, especially if Alexis Sanchez joins Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
Again, Arsenal would have to find £70million to sign the 27-year-old. They also need to sign a reserve right back but have already secured Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac at left back. They are expected to add a midfielder as well.
Meanwhile, Wenger himself has insisted he will not turn on his players and criticise them publicly despite their underachievement this season, as they take on Manchester United on Sunday attempting to keep their feint Champions League hopes alive.
‘Ideally, you have to be careful with that,’ he said. ‘You can do it in extreme situations at times but it must be handled carefully. We’ve been speaking before about players dealing with stress. It just makes that stress level worse because top players have a good objective assessment of their performances. They know well where they stand.
‘You cannot always say to the players: “We’re all in the same boat and in this together to achieve something together” then jump out of the boat and say, “It’s your fault now.” And then, when it goes well, you take the credit. You are in the position where you have to be part of it and fight for them when it doesn’t go well.’