The Guardian are reporting that Manchester United have made the first move in the race to sign AS Monaco’s young superstar Kylian Mbappe, but have seen their opening bid turned down by the French club.
Jose Mourinho is keen to continue rebuilding and remoulding his playing squad over the summer and, regardless of if United are successful in their bid to secure Champions League football, the Portuguese coach has made Mbappe one of his prime targets.
However, the Old Trafford hierarchy will face a fierce tug-of-war in their attempt to sign the 18-year-old striker and have reportedly had a bid of £72,000,000 rejected by Monaco who are demanding a world-record fee in the region of £100,000,000 for their prize asset.
It is clear that United are in the market for a new striker, but is Mbappe the right man? And is a move likely?
What is the fuss all about?
Kylian Mbappe has burst onto the scene this season and his excellent performances have made the striker one of the most wanted young players in Europe.
The 18-year-old already looks like the complete package and is blessed with pace, power and technical ability, but it is his eye for goal that has really caught the imagination of supporters, pundits and the media alike. He has netted 24 times so far this campaign, including a scintillating spell between early February and the end of March that saw the starlet score 11 times in 9 appearances. Throw in the fact that the Frenchman also has 11 assists to his name and it is easy to see why he has attracted the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Mbappe has already proven that he is more than capable of performing in the Champions League, as Manchester City will attest to, and his prolific run of form shows no sign of stopping – with five goals in his last six games.
Do Manchester United need him?
In short, yes.
Whilst Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge at Old Trafford could still conclude with success in the League Cup, Europa League and, arguably more importantly, Champions League qualification it is clear that the current Manchester United squad still requires major renovation.The striking department is certainly one area that will receive an upgrade over the summer and a lack of prolificacy in front of goal has often haunted United’s hopes of finishing in the top four, as fourteen draw matches so far this campaign, many on home soil, have proven.
Whilst Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been a revelation since moving to Old Trafford in the summer, with 28 goals in all competitions, there are still major question marks over the Swedish superstar’s future. The 35-year-old has yet to sign a contract extension and has been heavily linked with a move to the MLS whilst there are concerns over his long-term fitness after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage in the Europa League victory against Anderlecht in April. United have leant heavily on the his prowess in front of goal this campaign and he is the only player at the club to have reached double figures, with Juan Mata being the second highest scorer with six.
Mbappe would undoubtedly provide United with a new, fresh and dangerous attacking outlet.
Who else is interested?
Manchester United have two issues that they face as they attempt to secure the signature of Kylian Mbappe.
Firstly, AS Monaco have made it clear that they are only will to cash in on their prize asset if a rival club meets their asking price. They are under no obligation to sell and the striker’s contract still has a significant amount of time to run before it is set to expire, meaning that the French club hold all of the cards when it comes to discussions at the negotiating table. Little wonder they have slapped a £100,000,000 price tag on Mbappe. Will United be willing to break the record transfer fee for a second season running? It would be a serious statement of intent if they do!
Secondly, United are not alone in the race to secure the 18-year-old’s signature. Europe’s biggest clubs are following Mbappe’s career with great interest and there are already reports that Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain have made contact with Monaco to confirm their interest. If the young starlet is to be tempted to Old Trafford then it is vital that they secure a place in the Champions League. Failure to do so would push United to the back of the queue.