Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe, claiming he could become the next Pele.
Mbappe, who joined PSG on a season-long loan from Monaco on deadline day with a clause for the club to buy him for €180 million plus bonuses next summer, has become one of the world’s most sought-after teenagers.
And Wenger insists that there are comparisons to make with arguably the world’s greatest player of all-time, Pele, who broke into the Santos team aged 15 in 1956 and won the World Cup with Brazil two years later — scoring a brace in the final.
“He [Mbappe] can be like Pele, there are no limits to his game,” the 67-year-old told French TV show Telefoot on Saturday. “We can already see the difference in the calls he makes [to receive the ball]). He scores but he also creates — only the very best players can do this.
Wenger has been tracking the striker for some time and revealed he almost signed him for Arsenal a few years ago, but he continues to be impressed with Mbappe’s rise even if a summer deal was too expensive for the Gunners.
“€180m is a little high for us,” he added. “For 90 percent of players, their career depends on their choice of club. Kylian is part of the 10 percent where any choice he makes will be a good one.”
Mbappe made his name on the international football scene last season as part of a Monaco side that coach Leonardo Jardim led to the Ligue 1 title and the Champions League semifinals.
The striker, who did not become a regular starter under Jardim until the second half of the season, scored 15 goals and added a further eight assists from just 29 Ligue 1 appearances, starting 17 of those.
Mbappe added a further six goals from as many Champions League outings — just three starts — plus three goals from three Coupe de la Ligue appearances and two goals from three Coupe de France outings, making a total of 26 goals and eight assists from 41 appearances.