This year’s edition of Europe’s elite club competition has brought plenty of great talent to the forefront.
However, it is the 18-year-old French sensation and Monaco hot-shot Kylian Mbappe Lottin who has been turning heads every step of the way, dazzling with his compelling performances and drawing inevitable comparisons with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
Rise to Prominence
Mbappe’s stellar rise comes as a logical result of Monaco’s dramatic change in philosophy, which saw the Principality club go from being labeled big-spenders to becoming a proper farming ground for young talent and promising French players.
A mixture of experience oozing from players such as Radamel Falcao, great quality and established reputations of Fabinho, Kamil Glik or Joao Moutinho and the scintillating talent of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar and our star in the making Kylian Mbappe Lottin, Monaco have seen their reputation build rock-solid foundations to present them to a footballing Europe as one of the hottest sides at the continent.
Few people would have suspected Kylian Mbappe as an obscure teenager would go on to impress so greatly, but his rise to prominence comes as a testament to an incredible talent and future football star in the making.
Mbappe currently stands at 30 first-team appearances for Monaco, ahead of the return leg of the UEFA Champions League Last-16 tie against Manchester City. The 18-year-old striker also stands as the youngest player in 30 years to score 10 goals in the French top flight, which is one of several records he broke this season.
A bright star in Leonardo Jardim’s free-scoring side, Mbappe contributed to his team’s 84 goals in the league alone with 10 of his own, and 16 across all competitions – nine of which came in his past 8 games – establishing himself as one of Europe’s most promising talents.
As a boy of 18 and in a tender and delicate age, Mbappe is showing great maturity in his fearless appearances such was the one against Manchester City. Monaco teenage sensation managed to score one of his side’s three goals at the Etihad and is looking at the 29/20 betting odds to get on the score sheet once again.
With the kind of performances he keeps displaying, no one seems to guarantee that Citizens will be able to stop him.
The list of Mbappe’s admirers is getting longer every day, but there is one man whose name has long been written on that list – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The Professor revealed last week he had been following Mbappe for quite some time and for much obvious reasons.
“I approached him last year because I really believe that he has an exceptional future ahead of him”, said Wenger.
Monaco were wise to stick to their talent as Mbappe keeps taking stock of his options for the summer, when Europe’s biggest club will undoubtedly come knocking for the new Thierry Henry.
The resemblance with Arsenal legendary striker is uncanny as both men broke into the professional ranks with Monaco and started to impress at the same age and in similar style.
The connection between Henry and Mbappe is also highlighted through the fact that Mbappe broke Henry’s longstanding record as Monaco’s youngster-ever goalscorer and if all numbers are to be analysed, the young French could very well go on to exceed the reputation of his more prominent compatriot.
Arsene Wenger – naturally and quite understandably – was one of the first people to notice the Thierry Henry resemblance.
“He reminds me of a young Thierry Henry with the same clever look about him. They have the same qualities of intelligence in movement and cat-like finishing”, Wenger explained nicely.
Arsenal missed their chance to snatch the jewel and polish it to their own liking, but it would be a mistake to assume that Arsene Wenger (if he stays) will give up on the young star.
Kylian Mbappe will have plenty of options to choose from in the summer, although Monaco will do their utmost to have him extend his stay at Stade Louis II. Mbappe is contracted to the Principality club until 2019 and both departure and staying at Monaco bear some danger attached to them.
A premature departure and a wrong club choice could result in Mbappe being swallowed by the competitive world of unknown. Too many youngsters suffered the terrible faith with Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard being just one of the latest examples and Kylian Mbappe needs to be careful.
A move to Germany was mooted and Mbappe was even advised to think about choosing a club of lesser reputation as it is thought that mid-class club would serve as the best springboard possible for the young Frenchman.
Plenty of people suggest he should stay at Monaco, but if the Principality club get dismantled and forced to go through the new rebulding process, such a scenario could be of negative effect to the French prospect as well.
So what should Mbappe do?
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