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Manchester City

Manchester United open the bidding for Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe – is a move likely?

Martyn Cooke

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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.

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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.

Kylian Mbappe to Manchester United
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Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict

There is certainly a demand for Kylian Mbappe’s signature and AS Monaco have made it clear that they are willing to sell – if the price is right.

The biggest stumbling block for Manchester United, or any other interest club for that matter, is meeting the astronomical £100,000,000 price tag that the French club have slapped on their 18-year-old striker. Yet despite this, the Old Trafford hierarchy proved last summer that they are fully prepared to spend big for the right player, yet whether they would be willing to break the world transfer record two summers on the bounce is an intriguing question.

 

In truth the answer may well depend on whether Jose Mourinho is successful in qualifying for the Champions League. If United do, then expect them to break the bank to ensure they sign Mbappe.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

English Premier League

Manchester City would be taking risk by signing Napoli’s Jorginho

The Italian midfielder is enjoying a fine season in Serie A.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Manchester City have clinched the Premier League and are set for a record-breaking season, but Pep Guardiola is a perfectionist and he will not rest easy over this summer.

The Spaniard will be keen to strengthen the squad to ensure they are even better during the next campaign. He will already have targets in mind and The Guardian report that Napoli central midfielder Jorginho tops the list.

The report states that a bid of £52.5 million will be enough to tempt the Serie A club to sell and that City view the 26-year-old as the perfect player to compete with the ageing Fernandinho.

After their exciting performances in Italy, a number of Napoli players will be subject of interest this summer and it looks like Jorginho could be one of the first to leave the club, regardless of how the season ends for the club.

The Napoli midfield has been central to their title bid and Jorginho has been the standout performer. He has shown himself to be relentless out of possession and progressive with the ball.

(Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite not having a lot of attacking responsibility, he has contributed two goals and four assists. The Italian international is currently averaging 1.67 chances created per ninety minutes, which significantly more than the 0.57 managed by Fernandinho.

There will be some doubts regarding his adaptability, as the Premier League is much more physical and Jorginho isn’t the most dominant of midfield players. However, he makes up for that with his intelligence and anticipation.

The 26-year-old has proven to be a more efficient ball-winner than Fernandinho, as he averages 1.63 successful tackles and 1.82 interceptions per ninety minutes. Meanwhile, the City midfielder is averaging 1.07 successful tackles and 1.43 interceptions per ninety minutes.

The standout part of Jorginho’s game is his passing and ball retention. He is very good at moving the ball quickly and putting his side on the front foot. The midfielder averages 94.44 passes per ninety minutes and 74.5% of those go forward.

The fact he has a pass completion rate of 89% underlines his quality on the ball and Pep Guardiola would view him as the perfect player to have at the base of a midfield.

(Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

City need a midfielder who can quickly move the ball across the pitch and put the talented attacking players in a position to cause damage.

Jorginho would be a good option to do this, but the price tag reported by the Guardian is a touch high. There would instantly be huge expectations on the Napoli midfielder and his lack of dynamism means that he would quickly emerge as a target for criticism.

There are advantages to signing Jorginho and he would be a good addition, but he isn’t going to push Manchester City to the next level.

Guardiola needs to sign individuals that are going to make improve the team’s chances in the Champions League and the midfielder isn’t one of those elite players.

At the reported price, he would be a risk and one that doesn’t offer big rewards.

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Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace should swoop for Manchester City’s Yaya Toure on a free

The Ivorian midfielder looks set to leave the Etihad this summer.

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Yaya Toure
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When Manchester City legend Yaya Toure was thrown on to the pitch with 25 minutes to go against Swansea City on Sunday, the City faithful were given a chance to celebrate the wonderful Citizens career of the Ivorian.

It was a perfect cameo for Toure, delivering a pinpoint chipped assist to Gabriel Jesus for City’s fifth goal.

Toure celebrated at the Etihad on the way to his third Premier League title, but he faces an uncertain future as Manchester City are unlikely to offer him a new contract.

The Metro reported that the 34-year-old wishes to remain in the Premier League, and Crystal Palace should seriously consider making a move for Toure.

Palace know all too well the supreme qualities of the midfielder. When Toure made his return from the exile Pep Guardiola imposed on him in November 2016, his first appearance came at Selhurst Park.

(Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

The Ivory Coast international absolutely bossed the show that match, scoring two emphatic goals en route to a 2-1 victory, after three months out of the first team squad. It was a timely reminder of Toure’s unique skills, which would be perfectly suited to Crystal Palace’s style of play.

Roy Hodgson’s side play matches with a high-intensity, all-action swagger, and the coolness and relentless drive of Yaya Toure would slot in seamlessly. Toure would also add an experienced head to the Eagles, with lengthy spells playing for the best teams in the world.

Even though Toure is 34 years old, he still possesses a superb reading of the game and tremendous work rate. He is truly a box-to-box midfielder, running back to snuff out danger one moment, and striding forward and leading the attack the next.

A move to Selhurst Park would suit both sides, as the Ivorian wishes to keep his young family settled in England. Crystal Palace would do brilliantly to acquire the services of the three-time Premier League champion, a transfer that would lead them to the top-half of the top-flight table.

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Arsenal

Who is best-placed to challenge Manchester City next season?

Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking to defend their title during the 2018/19 campaign.

Martyn Cooke

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Photo: Getty Images

Manchester City were crowned as Premier League champions on Sunday afternoon after Manchester United suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of struggling West Bromwich Albion.

Pep Guardiola’s team have ripped apart the top-flight of English football this season with a devastatingly effective style of play that has left their rivals struggling to hold on to their coattails.

City are currently 16 points clear of second place with five games still to play and now have the opportunity to break the 100-point barrier as the season comes to a conclusion.

Here, The Boot Room evaluate which top-six team is best placed to challenge Manchester City’s dominance next year.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Manchester United

There are currently mixed feelings around Old Trafford regarding how Manchester United have performed this season and the long-term direction of the club under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho.

A failure to maintain the astonishing pace set by Manchester City has left supporters having to be content with a top-four finish and FA Cup semi-final whilst there has been a deluge of criticism aimed at the pragmatic style of play utilised.

Mourinho remains one of the best managers in world football and he is still in the process of moulding a team in his own image.

The Portuguese maestro has already spent big in the transfer market, as demonstrated by the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku over the past two years, and the club are expected to make further significant investments in the summer.

He needs to find the missing piece to the Manchester United jigsaw and that will mean addressing the lop-sided defence, demonstrated by Ashley Young’s emergence as first-choice left-back.

Mourinho has overcome Guardiola in the past but there will be no room for excuses next season if, after two years of building a team, Manchester United are unable to challenge their cross-city rivals.

(Photo by Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur have continuously improved year-on-year under the stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino but you still feel that the club is some way behind their rivals in terms of winning the Premier League.

Spurs have a young, dynamic squad of players that play fast, attacking football and, in Harry Kane, they possess one of the best strikers in the world right now. However, something is still missing and it is hard to put your finger on exactly what it is.

Perhaps it is simply a mental issue? Tottenham have not won a league title since 1960 and last secured silverware of any kind almost a decade ago – do the current group of players have the right mentality or experience to enable them to maintain performances over the course of a full campaign? Their upcoming FA Cup semi-final may provide an insight later this month.

Whilst you feel that Tottenham will always be in and around the top spots next season, it is difficult to see them overcoming Manchester City without significant investment or Pochettino uncovering the magic formula.

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Chelsea

Chelsea have offered a feeble and limp defence of their title this year and still face a scramble to secure a place in the top-four.

Things have clearly not been right behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge and Antonio Conte is expected to depart the club in the summer after spending much of the season snipping at the Chelsea hierarchy.

Regardless of who the Italian’s successor is, it is widely expected that the club will bounce back.

Under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, the Blues have continuously maintained their standing as one of the leading side’s in the country and you would imagine that the Russian oligarch will be keen to reclaim their crown next season.

Chelsea will spend big in the summer to ensure that they build a squad capable of challenging Manchester City and a striker will be top of the new manager’s wish list. Alvaro Morata made a positive start to the campaign but has struggled for form and fitness in the second half of the season.

If the Blues can make the right appointment in the dugout and strengthen significantly on the pitch then history suggests they will be in and around the top spots.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Liverpool

Since arriving at Anfield in October 2015 Jurgen Klopp thrown himself into the task of restoring Liverpool’s status as one of the leading club’s in Europe.

Each transfer window has seen the squad steadily improve and you now feel that the German has built a team that is capable of challenging for both domestic and European silverware.

Liverpool have a reputation for producing attacking, dynamic and exciting football and the attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino possess an abundance of pace, power and creativity.

Under the stewardship of Klopp, the team have always looked capable of scoring goals but have regularly been criticised for being undermined by defensive fragile and frail.

However, the signing of Virgil Van Dijk in January, the emergence of John Robertson and the new-found confidence of Loris Karius appears to have put some of those concerns to bed – Liverpool have kept eight clean sheets in their last 12 matches in all competitions.

Klopp will continue to develop the squad during the summer and, as proven by their historic victory over Manchester City, the Reds are certainly heading in the right direction.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Arsenal

There has continued to be a degree of frustration and dissatisfaction around the Emirates Stadium this season as Arsenal have continued to fall behind their rivals on the pitch.

The Gunners are currently 33 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League are relying on winning the Europa League in order to qualify for the Champions League next year.

The club under-performed last season, failing to qualify for Europe’s premier competition, and the decline has continued over the following twelve months with supporters becoming increasingly frustrated with Arsene Wenger’s failure to consistently secure positive results.

The same old problems persist – there is a lack of leaders, a lack of quality in central defence and no commanding midfield player.

Wenger has brought together an exciting forward line that possesses pace, power and experience with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan arriving in January to complement the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and a fit-again Danny Welbeck.

However, Arsenal continue to be undermined by prevalent weaknesses throughout the remainder of the team and there are currently a world away from competing with Manchester City.

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