In an EXCLUSIVE with Amy Lawrence for the Guardian, former Aston Villa manager and Arsenal player, Remi Garde, spoke about Arsene Wenger, Kylian Mbappé and Alexandre Lacazette.

  • Garde finds criticism of Wenger hard to take
  • ‘Highly rates’ Alexandre Lacazette
  • Admits Mbappe reminds him of Thierry Henry

Garde played under Wenger for three years, winning the title in 1997/98.

While the manager’s had a successful past, where his future lies remains to be seen.

Wenger’s contract expires at the end of the season and although he claims he’s made a decision, he won’t reveal it just yet.

Garde has immense levels of respect for his former boss, admitting that he finds it hard to imagine Wenger coming to the end of his Arsenal career.

“He is an unbelievable guy,” Garde told the Guardian.

“It is difficult for me to imagine the end. I don’t know when that will be.

“I can say only he inspired me, the way I manage, the way I behave in life as well.

“I am sad to read the criticism of him and the bad words, because he committed the last 20 years to the club he loves so much.”

21 Oct 1998: Remi Garde of Arsenal goes in on Andrei Husin of Dynamo Kiev during the UEFA Champions League match at Wembley in London. The game ended 1-1. (Gary M Prior/Allsport)

Garde was capped six times for France during his playing career and keeps a watchful eye on French football, which he admits is bursting with talent right now.

The 51-year-old highlighted two Arsenal targets, Alexandre Lacazette and Kylian Mbappe, as stand-out players for the future.

Lacazette is a long-term target of the Gunners after they had a bid knocked back last summer.

With Alexis Sanchez’s future at the club in doubt, it’s reported that Arsenal will return for the Lyon striker this year.

“I rate him very highly,” Garde revealed.

“I have the feeling now he is ready – he is strong enough in his head to settle into any team.

“I know him very well. He improved a lot thanks to his commitment at each training session. The way he supports and leads the team this season is unbelievable.

“He never left Lyon before and I know from my own experience as a kid of Lyon that when you leave your city for the first time it’s quite difficult. If he chooses the right club, the right manager, and they have a little patience with him, they will be rewarded.”

Wenger previously confirmed interest in 18-year-old Mbappe, who Garde says reminds him of Thierry Henry and advised him to stay focused.

“If Mbappé is playing well it’s partly because alongside him is [Radamel] Falcao, a very experienced player. He has a very well-balanced team around him and a good manager,” he said.

“Football is very fragile. We have seen gifted players have a very good start who choose not to concentrate any more on football and focus on advertising or media or choose the wrong clubs at the wrong time.

“The advice would be to stay focused and not to forget you have everything at the moment in Monaco to become a better player. You have time in future to choose and change everything in your football life.

“So far he reminds me of Thierry [Henry]. Maybe he is more mature in his game already than Thierry was at the same time. When you consider what Thierry went on to achieve in the game it is amazing.”

Read Remi Garde’s full interview with Amy Lawrence here.