Sydney (AFP) – Arsenal are keen on in-demand Monaco teenager Kylian Mbappe, manager Arsene Wenger said Tuesday, while confirming club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette will make his debut on their pre-season tour of Australia.
The 18-year-old Mbappe has reportedly been the subject of world record offers from Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, and has also been linked with Manchester United.
Wenger said he was always interested in young talent.
“He’s a player who when he gets up in the morning can choose where he wants to go. Not many players have that kind of luck,” the veteran Frenchman said in Sydney where Arsenal are on a pre-season tour.
“He is just 18 years of age and it is all of Europe who has the red carpet out for him.
“I believe nobody can say he is not interested in a player of that kind because he has such immense quality at 18 that all the clubs are open and interested in him.”
Wenger is also said to be keen on Mbappe’s Monaco teammate Thomas Lemar as a supporting attacker to Lacazette, whose move from Lyon to the Gunners was sealed last week for a club-record fee that could rise to 60 million euros ($68m, £52.56m).
But the Arsenal manager would not be drawn on the chances of landing Lemar.
“That’s all speculation at the moment, there is nothing really concrete about any signing. He’s a player that we have looked at, but the rest is only speculation,” he said.
– ‘Great additions’ –
Wenger did say he was hoping to entice more players to the Emirates before the new season starts.
“I’m open to get some more signings, but it’s not easy to find the players to strengthen our squad because we have top quality players,” he said.
“There’s two ways to improve — analyse what we did well last year and what we did not do well, and improve on that. And the second way is to bring some new players in.
“But I believe at the moment, because we are on pre-season, that it is very important for us to analyse what happened last year and where we can improve. At the moment I focus more on that.”
Lacazette — who is hoping his move to Arsenal can help boost his hopes of cementing a place in the France squad ahead of next year’s World Cup — will make his debut against Sydney FC on Thursday.
“Lacazette will make his debut here, yes,” Wenger said, adding that fellow new signing Sead Kolasinac would also appear.
“We play football based on movement, technical qualities and mobility, and I believe that both of the new signings can integrate well into the team,” he added.
“One is a defender who can play on the flank and centrally, and one is a striker with a very good goal scoring record, so I believe that they are great additions to the team.
“It’s a good opportunity as well to have a first look at how well and how quickly they will integrate with the way we want to play.”
Arsenal play two pre-season friendlies this week, following up the clash with Sydney FC by facing Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.