Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City….. the list goes on. Pretty much every big club has got AS Monaco teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe on their radar. His rapid rise has seen him been identified as one of the hottest prospects in France at the moment. His reputation was further enhanced when he dazzled in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship of 2016 held in Germany.
The 17-year old scored five goals and assisted another one as he won the tournament with his country France. Having joined Monaco’s youth setup in 2013, the winger was quick to break into the first team, making 11 appearances in Ligue 1 last season scoring a single goal in the process.
His only goal for the senior team which he scored against Troyes in the stoppage time was very significant as it made him the youngest goalscorer in the history of the club at 17 years and 62 days breaking the record of legend Thierry Henry. Arsenal, who nurtured Henry and made him the star he was, are strongly linked with the Frenchman.
The youngster has good versatility as he can play on either wing as well as a centre forward. He is primarily right-footed but can shoot with both feet equally well which gives him a great advantage in the forward positions. The best part is, however, his dribbling and pace. Just like his idol Thierry Henry, Mbappe comes across as one of those Frenchmen who is capable of leaving players in their wake when the ball goes out to him and he has space to run into.
His ability to play the role of both a conventional and an inverted winger makes him a wonderful option for the team. Mbappe also fares well in his ball retention, being able to keep possession under pressure and also dance past the opposition from tight areas makes him wonderful to watch.
The main areas which the teenager would need to improve are quite obvious and natural to be fair. Consistency, is very important, which needs to be improved so is the defensive contribution. Gone are the days when one can stay up the pitch without the ball hoping that his defenders would do the job and get the ball to him to utilize the vacant spaces for the counter attack.
Defensive contribution is a must in today’s game and more so when you are stationed at the wings. At his age, when he excels with his forward play it is easier to get carried away and not track back but at the top level it will prove as a handicap which the winger would need to fix. Finally, it’s is his physique, which needs to be worked upon. Getting stronger physically will improve him as a player.
It goes without saying that Mbappe is a real talent who has got everybody in France excited and all the big clubs drooling over him. He is the result of the new measures AS Monaco has taken to revamp their youth academy and put some serious work into the development of the young players. There have been some exceptionally talented players who have come out from the French clubs in recent years in the last few years with the latest being Ousmane Dembele, who has already turned heads since his move to Borussia Dortmund.
There is a long way to go for Mbappe as he is nowhere near the finished article or somebody who should be even thinking of making a move to a bigger club.
For me he should continue with his development at Monaco for at least another year and then look to move abroad. Nevertheless, the 17-year old is someone who has all the attributes to make a real name for him in the future and if handled properly he can also go on to enjoy a stellar career like many of his peers.