Kylian Mbappe has been the talk of the summer. Prior to Neymar’s incredible £198 million move to Paris Saint-Germain, Mbappe was touted as the next player to break the transfer world record, such is the continent-wide demand for his services. It’s not to say he won’t cost over £100 million, but breaking the record now seems rather unlikely.
First it was Real Madrid and PSG, then Manchester City and Arsenal threw their names into the hat, and now Barcelona are the latest to add theirs to Mbappe’s long list of suitors in the light of Neymar’s departure for the French capital.
Whilst many believe Monaco is the best place for Mbappe to continue his development, prioritising continuity and stability in the teenager’s career, their transfer business over the summer has made this an impossible possibility.
Monaco have geared their entire summer towards the expectation that Mbappe will leave. They’ve fulfilled their own worst nightmare.
Lack of creativity
Superbly managed by Leonardo Jardim, Mbappe burst onto the scene in 2016/17 after a slow introduction into the first team. The 18-year-old sensation scored 15 Ligue 1 goals in 29 games, the youngster player to hit the 10-goal mark in 30 years of French football, but he doesn’t deserve all the credit.
His teammates were immense and, frankly, Mbappe’s season wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without them.
Bernardo Silva was an otherworldly creator; Benjamin Mendy was so vital to the width of the side when in possession; and Thomas Lemar’s future is still up the in the air as Arsenal continually linger.
Both Bernardo and Mendy, however, left to join Manchester City for a combined £95 million. The problem is, therefore, that either Monaco’s creators have already left or will be leaving. This is detrimental to Mbappe.
The importance of Mendy, Silva & Lemar
These three players were arguably the most important in Monaco’s side. Between them they provided 24 assists (Bernardo nine, Lemar ten and Mendy five) and without their creative influence, Monaco would scored far less than the 107 goals en route to the Ligue 1 title.
For example, Mendy assisted two of Mbappe’s 15 goals, in a 6-0 win over Nancy and a 2-1 victory over Montpelier, whilst Bernardo assisted five himself; two in a 4-0 win over Nantes, and one apiece in a 6-2 win over Montpelier, a 2-1 win against Lyon and a 3-1 victory over Toulouse.
Surprisingly, despite registering ten assists in 2016/17, none of them were dispatched by Mbappe, though Lemar did create 70 chances overall, providing the opportunities for Mbappe to score, regardless of whether he converted them. The point remains; those chances may not be there this season.
In selling them, they’ve deprived Mbappe of his support. Without them, the question is: Would he score as many goals? Would Monaco as a unit even function in the same way? It’s dubious.
The impossible possibility
It’s clear that Monaco went about their summer business with an eye to losing Mbappe, but keeping him would have been a slight possibility had they retained the services of their creative players.
As such, the thought of him staying has become an impossible possibility. Despite his requests to leave the club on his own accord, Mbappe’s hand has been somewhat forced.
He needs to surround himself with quality creators if he’s to achieve the same, or greater, level of success as he did in 2016/17. Imagine an Mbappe with Luka Modric, Isco and Toni Kroos in support, or Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez.
As a teenager, the best thing for him is to learn from world class players, play regularly and score goals, things he can no longer do to the best of his abilities in the new-look Monaco side. Staying at the Stade Louis II, therefore, is a risk and not one he can afford to take.
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