Ninja Skills: Mbappe Has Outgrown France And Needs A Big Move To Become The Best

The French youngster is in desperate need of a new challenge
16:00, 21 Dec 2019

Cowabunga. An expression that can both be used as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ catchphrase and also something to describe Kylian Mbappe. In fact, it’s specifically associated with Michelangelo, the TMNT whose likeness to Mbappe prompted Thiago Silva to give him a facemask of the green superhero for his birthday. 

Mbappe is quickly becoming one of the best players of a generation, and while Neymar may have rocked up at PSG in order to escape the shadow of Messi, Kylian Mbappe looks like the true superstar for the club and the one who would win a Ballon d’Or if you had to put money on the duo. As Mbappe’s star rises higher than the top of the Rockefeller Christmas tree, the questions over his future get louder and louder. 

Plenty of people will tell you Mbappe has now outgrown Ligue 1 and by default, PSG. Yes, they are one of the richest clubs in the world and can buy whoever they want (with or without worrying about FFP, apparently) but they are in the so-called "farmer’s league" and winning that season in, season out just isn’t the same as winning a Premier League or a La Liga title. 

The Champions League has become somewhat of an obsession for PSG, and they’ve not yet won it - but much like with Pep Guardiola and Man City come the end of this season, you get the feeling Mbappe could be looking to leave if PSG do win it, seeing it as mission accomplished and if they don’t, realising it’s time to move on. 

There would be no shortage of suitors for Mbappe, with Real Madrid heavily linked to him and plenty of Premier League clubs having their eye on the star as well. Liverpool fans are certainly a force on Twitter, just ask those who cross them and end up having a skip in their backyard or their previous unsavoury tweets plastered everywhere, and they’ve been trying their best to get #Mbappe2020 to become a reality.

Manchester City shouldn’t be ruled out as suitors either, given their level and also the fact Leroy Sane could be off once he’s finally fit again, but the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United would be outside bets. A player like Mbappe isn’t going to leave his home country and the biggest side in it to play Europa League football at best, Premier League team or not. 

When one of the biggest stars in the world gives an indication he could be ready to leave his club, the elite come sniffing around, and rightly so. Landing Mbappe this summer would be a world-class addition to any side, but more than that, Mbappe needs this move for himself. He’s now the youngest player to reach 70 goals in Ligue 1, and week in, week out it looks like he’s taking candy from babies. 

In the World Cup, you could see him step it up a gear, as he does in the Champions League, and it’s both exhilarating and mesmerising thing to watch. The danger with him staying at PSG is the chances to really play at the top of his game and be pushed to levels he didn’t even think were possible - and really compete with the mantle of Messi and Ronaldo - will become few and far between. 

Would Liverpool have become this good had Man City not set new records last season? No. Would Ronaldo have reached the heights he has without Messi pushing him every step of the way? No. The same is true for all greats in all sports. Federer and Nadal are case in point. Mbappe has to make the big move this summer and find a side where he is pushed every single day in training and games where he has to produce the sublime and ridiculous every single weekend. 

If you’ve outgrown something or can get it better elsewhere you move on. Michelangelo would do it for a better slice of his beloved pizza and now Mbappe needs to do it for his career.