Arsenal should pass on Mbappe
Arsenal can try to compete with Manchester United and Europe’s elite clubs to sign Kylian Mbappé but the club might be better served spending their transfer budget on the missing ingredients that are keeping them from challenging for Premier League titles.
Rumors abound that the Kylian Mbappé, the new “Thierry Henry”, is on Manchester United’s radar now after his Monaco club’s two-leg performance to knock Manchester City out of the Champions League. Of course, the media will make any link involving “French”, “teenage” and “winger” with Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal transfer policy. With the talent he possesses, Mbappé could be considered one of the favorites to replace Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as “The Best” player in 2022 and would no doubt add needed quality to Arsenal’s skill players.
As this past weekend’s capitulation to West Brom indicates, Arsenal is short on players willing to fight. Outside of the passion showed by Alexis Sanchez when he is being substituted or the wrong type of fight exemplified by the walking red card, Granit Xhaka, this Arsenal squad is low on resilience and determination.
In fact, it is safe to say that the club has been missing it since the title-winning sides of the early 2000s and everyone who follows the club can identify that except for the current management group.
It has been a long time since Arsenal was blessed with an ‘engine room’ midfielder. Patrick Vieira comes to mind for most Arsenal supporters and after Vieira waned and moved to Manchester City, Alex Song filled the role admirably until he was sold to Barcelona. It is a position that is likely viewed as a relic from twelve to fifteen seasons ago with Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan / Italy), Michael Ballack (Bayern / Germany) and Xabi Alonso (then-Liverpool / Spain) famously remembered in the role.
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In today’s market, the best players that fit in the ‘engine room’ midfielder role are well established at their clubs. Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, Atletico’s Koke, Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti and the Chelsea duo of N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic. Would any of them move to Arsenal? Not likely.
The most likely (which is still not likely) of that group that could be tempted to Arsenal would be Verratti or Carvalho but with Europa League football looking more and more like a possibility, it remains to be seen whether a move to North London would even be attractive to either of them with the uncertainty surrounding manager Arsène Wenger and whether their two most talented players (Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil) will continue on at the club.
In-house candidates Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin do not strike any fear in their opponents in the Premier League or in Europe. A transfer for a resilient, determined and tough tackling engine room midfielder is a pressing need for the Arsenal. Despite Arsenal’s playing style being a natural fit for Kylian Mbappé, Arsenal should plan for a style change in the very near future and let Europe’s big clubs battle it out for the next Thierry Henry.