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The Mbappe Question

Real Madrid’s been facing this one burning question all summer

Juventus v AS Monaco - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Kylian Mbappe is unquestionably one of the brightest young prospects in all of Europe. As a result, it’s no secret that every club on the continent is interested in the young starlet.

The Monaco man had a breakout season this year that saw him score 26 goals and collect 11 assists while helping guide Monaco past powerful European clubs Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. His output is made even more impressive when you consider that he scored 19 goals and four of those assists in the mere 20 matches he started.

When Florentino Pérez name-drops you in an interview, he is usually interested in acquiring your talents. Madrid have been known to break the bank on players with World Class potential, but this much money for an 18-year-old is unprecedented. With Madrid’s new focus on buying players under or around the age of 21, this signing makes sense despite its potential price tag.

It’s not that simple for Real Madrid, unfortunately. To go alongside the pros to a potential signing, there are also cons. This is not to say that Real won’t end up getting their man, because in most instances Florentino Pérez will get what he wants.

The Argument to Buy

Potential, potential, potential. At only 18 years of age, the sky is the limit for Kylian Mbappe. Drawing comparisons to former world class players like Thierry Henry is incredibly impressive for a player so young.

Mbappe’s first season culminated in a shocking Ligue 1 title over rivals PSG, as well as an equally shocking run to the Champions League semi-finals before being knocked out by runners-up Juventus. Without Mbappe’s contributions it is difficult to see the club accomplish either landmark.

So what would Mbappe bring to Madrid? For starters, he would be the future of the striker position for at least the next decade. Finding a position’s future with such certainty for such a long period of time is very rare in today’s game. A transfer fee of this magnitude won’t look so expensive if a player spends the next 15 years in the capital.

As for his game, Mbappe possesses an elite ability to finish at such a young age. Whether it’s with his feet or with his head, the French striker finds a way to put the ball in the net and does so with relative ease.

On top of that, Kylian has great close-control with his dribbling, and this is only more impressive when coupled with his explosive pace. This speed, finishing ability, and close-control make him a lethal striker and explain why he was able to set Europe on fire.

Aside from these traits, there is still plenty of room to improve. While his passing in the final third is still a work in progress, he has shown a willingness to involve those around him. Whether that be through runs into the channel to provide an attacking outlet, or helping his teammates in build-up, Mbappe has shown a willingness to become more than just a poacher.

Distribution and build-up is something that Real Madrid’s current striker, Karim Benzema, has always done exceptionally well. If Madrid are going to replace the Frenchman, than finding someone who is willing to link up with primary scoring option, Cristiano Ronaldo, is imperative.

Arguably the most impressive facet of Benzema’s game is his partnership with Ronaldo. It works so well due to Ronaldo’s tendency to drift centrally along with Benzema’s ability to go play on the left wing in the meantime. While Mbappe would not provide the same build-up play as Benzema, he instead offers a fun alternative for Madrid in his willingness to move outside.

Mbappe’s natural speed and dynamism make him a solid fit on the wing for the parts of the match Ronaldo drifts inside. He is more suited for a wide role than Benzema, and could help provide a nice change of pace that Benzema simply can not. This versatility could also allow him to switch with Gareth Bale on the other wing, creating a potentially beautiful interchanging front three (provided Zidane chooses a front three).

Being only 18, Kylian Mbappe still has yet to grow into his body, yet still, he owns impressive physical and technical skills. Tactically he provides something different from Benzema, but something that can be just as effective.

The Argument Not to Buy

The price.

In order to buy Mbappe, Madrid would need to at least break the current world transfer fee record. At the beginning of the window Monaco were reportedly asking for anywhere from 120-140 million Euros. With the sales of some of Monaco’s important players, that price has reportedly risen to possibly 190 million.

That would be a crazy fee to pay for any player, let alone an 18-year-old with only one professional season to his name. Even with the money Madrid have acquired from their summer sales, would that fee be worth it?

As a result of this price tag many Madrid fans are in favour of waiting one more season before possibly making the move. Naturally, it makes sense to avoid spending so much money on a player who just emerged onto the biggest stage this year. The train of thought is that if he has a bad sophomore season, you either won’t have to spend as much cash to acquire him, or you avoid making the mistake of purchasing him all together.

But this can backfire just as easily. Many Madridistas think that another great season may only increase his price tag by 20-30 million extra. Wrong. If he sets next season on fire, expect his price tag to only keep rising to around the 200 million range no matter how ridiculous it sounds. An outstanding world cup, and he’s maybe priced himself out of the market.

Another big argument against Mbappe is his playing time as it’s related to his development. A potentially world class youngster needs time to grow into all of that ability. Being brought to a big club like Madrid before he is ready could result in stunting his growth, or a situation similar to that of James Rodriguez.

I personally do not see this as much of an issue with Benzema soon to be 30. A year rotating and splitting half of the minutes with his fellow Frenchman should provide plenty of opportunities to improve. The club will have to replace Karim at some point, and what better way than to have him mentor his compatriot?

So Should Madrid Buy?

For me the answer is a resounding yes. The opportunity to lock down the forward position for over a decade is too tempting to turn down. With Benzema quickly approaching 30 years of age, a replacement at the position will soon be needed.

But Madridistas are already aware of many of these things. Perhaps the question we should be asking is — is it going to happen this summer or next? Next summer might be more ideal for Madrid, but how much will the World Cup premium increase Mbappe’s price tag? Would waiting another year actually pay off or just make the acquisition even more unlikely?

Zidane has dropped subtle hints at potentially adding another striker following the sale of Morata. This vague quote has led to speculation among Madrid faithful that a deal may eventually be done.

There are always many obstacles involved when one is potentially going to break the transfer record to sign a player. Ultimately it is up to Zidane to make the decision he feels is best for the squad and its future, however, missing out on a generational-type talent like Mbappe might be a very bitter pill to swallow.


Should Real Madrid buy Kylian Mbappe?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Yes this season
    (1062 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes but next season
    (360 votes)
  • 13%
    No, he will cost too much money and may not have a place in the team.
    (227 votes)
1649 votes total Vote Now

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