What next for Kylian Mbappe?
If you look at the odds market for the next Ballon d'Or Winner you can find Kylian Mbappe situated as fourth favourite. Whilst it might be hard to dislodge Cristiano Ronaldo or Luca Modric this year, the 2018 FIFA World Cup young player of the tournament winner may well find himself at the head of this market in many years to come. There are many people who now think that Mbappe could dominate this award after the ‘Ronaldo-Messi era’ is complete. Of course there are many other talented players waiting in the wings; not least PSG teammate Neymar. In might be that in years to come they go their own separate ways, but right now they probably both need each other in order to reach new heights that their ability possesses.
Kylian Mbappe has been much talked about and sought after ever since he propelled onto the scene with AS Monaco. Some of his Champions League performances really caught the eye that year. This of course led to his eventual big money move to PSG but it’s interesting that his goals and assists productivity actually decreased during his first campaign with PSG from a combined 40 down to 36. He played nearly 1000 extra minutes on the field too, so these statistics would perhaps surprise quite a few people. We must not forget that this is a man who only turned 20 in December though. What he did as an 18 year old was almost to a freakish level. If his club season was only slightly above average, he more than made up for it in Russia with France. He was one of the standout stars of the tournament and now has a World Cup winners medal in his cabinet.
The big question is how will he kick on from that fantastic summer? That France squad is made up of some interesting characters, some of whom seem to play better for country than club. Paul Pogba is an example of this and seems to inexplicably downgrade when back at Man Utd. However, Mbappe isn’t someone of that mould right now. He appears to have the world at his feet and on the verge of something special. His ability to move into the upper echelons of the highest level now reside with his club and manager. New PSG coach Thomas Tuchel is the type of man who is happy to change his tactics on a regular basis and can interchange quite a few things. This could potentially play into the hands of the young starlet.
Mbappe might be used as a lone striker upfront, be as part of a duo with Edinson Cavani or be employed on the right wing. It’s even possible he could end up on the left occasionally, although I think the consensus is that his is less effective in this particular spot. Most of the time under Unai Emery he was situated on that right wing and it will be interesting to see if Tuchel does play him upfront more. Should that happen then his excellent finishing could be utilised more leading to a spike in his goalscoring stats - which ultimately for an attacking player is something is the first thing that stands out. In the long run he needs to hope that PSG can finally get that monkey off their back and make it past the quarter finals of the Champions League. It's in the advanced stages of that competition which he will ultimately be judged, so he needs that particularly stage on which to perform now on a regular basis.