Arsenal dealt transfer blow in chase for Monaco's Kylian Mbappe
Madrid, long seen as Mbappe’s preferred destination, appear favourites for his signature with Perez confirming manager Zinedine Zidane is considering him
Arsenal’s hopes of signing Kylian Mbappe have been dealt a blow with Florentino Perez dropping the biggest hint yet that Real Madrid will soon firm up their interest in the Monaco wonderkid.
The 18-year-old is one of the most sought-after young players in the world game after a sparkling breakout campaign where his goals helped Monaco to the Ligue 1 title and the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Such performances have caught the eye of a number of European heavyweights with Arsenal joining Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool amongst others in pursuing what would likely be a £100m plus world record transfer this summer.
But Real Madrid, long seen as Mbappe’s preferred destination, appear favourites for his signature with club president Perez confirming manager Zinedine Zidane is considering him despite his tender years.
"Mbappe is a very good player," he told esRadio. "This situation reminds me of last year when they told us to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus.
"The summer is long. Zidane has been close to him for several years. Not many players play for Real Madrid at 18 years old. We must be patient. Zidane has him in mind.
"It's not enough to say we can bring players in and then have them sitting on the bench. We are thinking about Mbappe, but his age makes it difficult to find a place."
There have been suggestions that Mbappe sees a move to Arsenal as the ideal stepping stone in his career ahead of signing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid before he turns 22.
Given that any move would be a significant risk for Arsenal who would expect to get a substantial increase on their investment once he moved on.
They would also have to provide substantial wages to compete with offers from the likes of Real, which is another stumbling block.
The club’s attempts to tie Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to lucrative new contracts could force them into a wide-ranging sell-off of players this summer.
Arsenal are wary of the Premier League’s cost control measures that restrict how much a wage bill can increase year on year.
If Arsenal’s 2017-18 wage bill is more than £7m higher than it was last year, as it would be if Ozil and Sanchez signed, they would have to make up the excess through extra external revenue, most likely player sales.
Mbappe’s contract on top of this could result in one of the Gunners’ star men not being offered a new contract, or a high number of first-team players being sold instead.
Independent News Service