Scout report: Kylian Mbappé – Why do Arsenal want the teen forward so much?

Kylian Mbappé is one of Europe’s hottest prospects with plenty of interested suitors scouting his progression at Monaco.

  • Arsenal have already tried to buy him
  • Unnamed English club submitted an £85m bid for him
  • Player seems set to stay at Monaco next season

The talented teenage attacker, who made his debut last February, has already surpassed expectations this term and continues to impress with ruthless efficiency in the final third.

So why is he so in demand?

Strengths

Kylian’s explosive pace, quick feet and close-control dribbling are all key attributes which make him tough to predict. The ability to shoot with either foot also means opponents are constantly on their toes.

His goal contributions are highly commendable, especially since he has had to remain patient for his opportunity centre-stage. 19 goals and 11 further assists (all comps) so far this term has earned him worldwide recognition, although he’s taking it all in his stride.

MONACO – MARCH 15: Kylian Mbappe of AS Monaco (29) scores their first goal psst goalkeeper Willy Cabellero of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between AS Monaco and Manchester City FC at Stade Louis II on March 15, 2017 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Despite being a centre-forward, he is versatile enough to play in other attack-minded positions. He flourished for France’s u19 side at last summer’s European Championships on the wing, where his tactical awareness and composure were evident to see.

His eagerness to involve other team-mates in attacking moves or provide a supporting option when players are under pressure ensure he’s regularly finding pockets of space to run in to. As a result, he has been afforded goalscoring chances and shown a clinical edge to convert many so far.

Weaknesses

As for his weaknesses, Mbappé needs to continue developing his overall defensive contribution when out of possession. It’s a tough, often physically draining job but one that provides extra defensive solidity for fullbacks.

Having a team-mate come to support can often lead to less chances conceded, and confidence across the backline will increase as a result.

Although he has had a growth spurt in recent months, Mbappé needs to be more confident when contesting aerial duels. According to Squawka, the 18-year-old has only won 20% of his aerial challenges this term.

Looking forward

Mbappé must maintain his consistency to give Leonardo Jardim an unwelcome selection headache.

Despite featuring on 22 occasions for Monaco in Ligue 1 this season, he’s only played 912 minutes – unsurprising given their squad depth. Equally though, it will give him a necessary boost to ensure he remains on track.

It’s imperative that he doesn’t jump at the first opportunity. There are many examples of wonderkids who saw their stock fall dramatically after a big move.

Mbappé’s recent rewards on the international stage – his first senior call-up for instance – just highlight the fact his work isn’t going unnoticed, but there’s room for improvement nonetheless.

France’s Kylian Mbappe (C) vies with Spain’s midfielder Isco (L) and Spain’s defender Jordi Alba during the friendly football match France vs Spain on March 28, 2017 at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, north of Paris. (Picture source: Christophe Simon / AFP / Getty Images)

Monaco have his best interests in mind, so there’s no reason to rush a decision about his long-term future.

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