With Manchester City, PSG and Real Madrid all amorously fluttering their eyelashes at the world’s most coveted young striker Kylian Mbappe, what are some of the reasons the kid might choose the grey clouds of Manchester rather than the warmer climes of Madrid or Paris?
Guardiola loves young players and promotes them. In this regard he is very different to Mourinho, for example who values the role of seasoned veterans in his parked-bus-score-on-the-break system.
From his time at Barcelona where he brought through Messi, Busquets et al, Pep loves the essential teachability of youngsters, something which is so often lacking in older players often stuck in their ways and less adaptable.
If it’s tactical development and discipline within a system Mbappe desires at this formative stage of his career (as he should!) – Pep‘s the best.
Thierry Henry once famously narrated an anecdote from his time under Pep at Barca when he was hauled off straight after scoring a goal because he had broken his pre-set tactical instructions in order to score it. Guardiola is not a respecter of big reputations.
Pep has also made a point of meeting Mbappe, both to assess his attitude and ambitions and also to let him know how he would figure in his plans, taking an opportunity that has apparently not been taken by the coaches of competing clubs.
The problem of the BBC
No matter how Zidane might try to spin it, the front three at Real Madrid are going Nowhere Fast, to cite an old Smiths song title.
Ronaldo will certainly be top dog for another few seasons yet. Bale is THE pet project of president Florentino Perez while Benzema is loved by Zidane and one of the most popular members of the squad among fans, staff and players. He is also set to sign a new contract by all accounts.
Of course it appears that with the recent sale of Morata, a squad place has indeed opened up at Madrid, however it is clearly that of the fourth placed striker and surely of less interest to Mbappe and his entourage in a World Cup season.
Playing time is of paramount concern to the young Frenchman.
The Problem of Neymar
Over in Paris, PSG have made it clear exactly where they want to blow their remaining transfer budget this summer. The high profile pursuit of Neymar gathers pace by the hour. Even for the mega-rich Qatar-based French giants, you can’t buy both Neymar AND Mbappe when the quoted prices are 220m euros for one and 180m for the other.
With Neymar scrapping with his teammates on the training field and the financial imperatives of the player’s influential father clashing with the Barcelona decision-makers, this deal seems only a matter of time, thus ruling PSG out of the race for Mbappe.
The New Brat Pack:
Manchester City have already signed two of Mbappe‘s best mates in Mendy & Bernardo Silva. Guardiola is enthusiastically ripping up the fabric of the Mancini/Pellegrini eras and starting afresh.
Mbappe has the chance to join an exciting new Brat Pack of youngsters at City featuring Sane, Sterling, de Jesus, Stones, Ederson, Mendy and Bernardo.
It’s out with the old and in with the new at the Etihad and the whole project looks like an elite version of the Monaco experience.
The Problem of Aguero?
Sergio Aguero needs the impetus of competing with youngsters like de Jesus and Mbappe to give him the hunger to squeeze the last elements of considerable talent out of his remaining 2-3 years at the top.
Aguero we must admit, is not a classic Pep Guardiola player – Pep being a man who insists that talent must come drenched in sweat.
Sergio‘s efforts to impress Pep with all that build-up running could well be subtracting from his God-given ability to strike the back of the net. Perhaps he should not have to sacrifice in this way to express his sublime talent.
More rest for Aguero may render him less susceptible to injury and reignite the fire in his belly, spurring him on to greater heights as he attempts to overtake take Eric Brook as the club’s all time leading goalscorer.
Mbappe could have no better tutor than the Premier League’s number one marksman.
Mbappe would surely only have a high-risk bit part to play at Real Madrid in a World Cup year. PSG could not afford him if/when they buy Neymar and at any rate, Monaco are just as reluctant to sell to their domestic rivals PSG as Arsenal are to sell Alexis Sanchez to us.
However at City he’d be a perfect fit, learning from and providing much-needed rest for Aguero and joining friends Bernardo and Mendy in an exciting youth project overseen by world football’s most innovative tactical mind in Guardiola.
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