At just a tender 18 years of age, Monaco's Kylian Mbappe is
already turning heads around Europe after tormenting defences
throughout France and scoring against Pep Guardiola's Manchester
City in the Champions League.
With 16 goals in 30 appearances for the French league leaders
this season, including nine in his past eight games, the teenage
prodigy is drawing plenty of comparisons to former France star
"We didn't expect such a rapid and sudden explosion," Alessandro
Grandesso, a Paris-based journalist with Gazzetta dello Sport,
told AFP. The Italian sports daily recently ranked Mbappe fifth
in a list of Europe's 30 most promising talents.
And while playing down a potential move to Italy, Grandesso
highlighted the resemblance between Henry and his heir apparent,
both of whom broke into the professional ranks with Monaco.
"It's true that he is gaining visibility and benefitting from the
comparison with Thierry Henry, thanks to his quite similar
style," Grandesso explained.
The connection with the 1998 World Cup winner is particularly
prevalent in England, where Henry flourished as part of Arsenal's
great 'Invincibles' side.
Few men are as qualified as Arsene Wenger, who launched a bid for
Mbappe last summer, to discuss the likeness of the two players.
"He reminds me of a young Thierry Henry with the same clever look
about him," Wenger said last week.
"They have the same qualities of intelligence in his movement and
The Arsenal manager added: "I approached him last year because I
really believe that he has an exceptional future ahead of him."
- Bidding war awaits -
But Mbappe, who broke Henry's longstanding record as Monaco's
youngest goalscorer, would be well-served to carefully take stock
of his options in the summer when Europe's leading clubs will
undoubtedly seek to wrest him away from the Stade Louis II.
Anthony Martial, another former Monaco starlet, celebrated his
big-money arrival at Manchester United in style with a debut goal
against Liverpool but has struggled to fully impose himself at
Old Trafford following a bright start.
On the contrary, Grandesso believes there is also a danger
attached to staying at Monaco should the team be dismantled next
"He must properly understand what the club wants to do. If it's
to stay in a team that starts over from scratch, I don't really
see the appeal," he said.
But rather than signing for one of Europe's heavyweights,
Grandesso suggested joining a club slightly below the top rung in
England or Germany, using it as a stepping stone where he would
be guaranteed playing time.
There are also surplus rumours of a move to the Bundesliga, with
Bayern Munich unsurprisingly top of the list, but so far there is
little evidence to substantiate such claims.
Dortmund are in the picture too, their nurturing of another
France youngster, Ousmane Dembele, mapping out a possible future
path were Mbappe to land in the Ruhr valley.
But he remains under contract with Monaco until June 2019 and
Mbappe's immediate focus is helping the attractive principality
outfit overturn a 5-3 deficit against Manchester City in
Wednesday's last 16 second leg.