Monday 20 January 2020

Liverpool and Arsenal set to go head-to-head for Kylian Mbappé


Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe. Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool will go head to head with Arsenal in an attempt to pull off the most spectacular and unexpected transfer in their history should Kylian Mbappé decide to move to England rather than Real Madrid.

The French teenager is now the most in-demand footballer on the planet and Jürgen Klopp is determined to be part of the conversation should Monaco agree to sell their star striker before the start of the season.

There is a broad expectation that Mbappé (18) will go to Real, who have the finances to outbid any competitors. It is rare for any player to reject the overtures of the Bernabéu club once they have been identified as the No 1 target. French media yesterday reported meetings between Mbappé and Real coach Zinedine Zidane in which he had been assured of a starting place.

But Liverpool, like Arsenal, have investigated whether Mbappé would prefer a move to the Premier League at a club where he can be guaranteed game-time and patience. It is felt career progress rather an immediate desire to become a galactico is Mbappé's priority, even if Madrid remain clear favourites.

Should Mbappé decide it is too soon to move to the Spanish giants, Liverpool are prepared to spend big to get him - and Monaco want a world-record fee. Unlike Arsenal, the Reds could be playing Champions League football this season, although they also know Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea would make rival offers.

On Thursday, Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Liverpool had already made two bids for Mbappé, both rejected by Monaco.

Anfield sources have been sheepish in their response to these claims. It is highly unlikely that Liverpool - or indeed any club - would make a formal offer for any footballer unless they were sure he was keen to make the move, so the Spanish reports must be treated with caution, especially as Marca often serves the will of Madrid.

What is certain is that Liverpool have expressed their interest in Mbappé and are prepared to be part of the bidding. They made an enquiry last summer but were told there would be no sale, a position Monaco says has not changed.

The figures involved far exceed anything Liverpool have ever spent on a player - their transfer record now standing at the initial £36m for Mohamed Salah, whose transfer was confirmed on Thursday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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