Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has stated his admiration for Monaco’s teenage forward Kylian Mbappé, describing him as a mix of Nicolas Anelka and Thierry Henry.
He also revealed his fears that the 18-year-old is already too big a target for the Gunners to pursue this summer.
“I don’t think there’s a club in the world who wouldn’t take him,” Keown was quoted as saying during Arsenal’s kit launch on Wednesday.
“But who is going to get him? He’s an outstanding talent. He’s a mix of Anelka and Henry, all in one, and they were the two best two centre-forwards I’ve ever seen. This fella’s up there.”
The Gunners legend, also clarified his fears that Mbappé’s rapid development in the Monaco first-team last season has seen his stock rise to an unexpected level across Europe making him an unrealistic target for Arsenal.
This belief is compounded by the fact that Arsene Wenger’s side failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League last season for the first time in two decades.
La Liga giants Real Madrid are believed to be frontrunners, alongside Arsenal, to sign Mbappé should he leave Monaco – though the fact that Zinedine Zidane’s side won their second successive Champions League title just reiterates how much more of an attractive option they are for the youngster.
“It [the proposed deal] may be too big for Arsenal. We’ll have to wait and see. There’s talk of Real Madrid, they’re the European champions. Would he not want to go there?
“Maybe he should have another year in France. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s such a young man, 18 years of age. He’s got it all ahead of him.”
Keown also hinted that Mbappé should look at the success of his compatriots, like Anelka, and use that as guidance before making his next career decision.
Anelka left Arsenal for Real Madrid in 1999 as a highly-rated teenage striker, after two seasons with the Gunners at Highbury.
“He might look at Anelka,” Keown continued. “He seemed to be too impatient and in too much of a hurry – take your time, keep scoring goals and I’m sure eventually he’ll make the right decision.”
Anelka notched 26 goals in 76 appearances for Arsenal, while Mbappé already equalled that tally in 44 appearances across all competitions last season.
With that being said, concerns over regular first-team minutes could push him away from making a world-record move to Real Madrid at such a tender age, giving Arsenal a boost in their chances of signing the wonderkid.