Arsenal: Three-hour Kylian Mbappe meeting inconsequential

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Kylian Mbappe of AS Monaco scores their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Manchester City FC and AS Monaco at Etihad Stadium on February 21, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Kylian Mbappe of AS Monaco scores their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Manchester City FC and AS Monaco at Etihad Stadium on February 21, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) /
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Per reports in France, Arsene Wenger had a three-hour meeting with Kylian Mbappe. Even if true, though, the meeting is consequential for Arsenal given the addition of Alexandre Lacazette and the lack of funds and need that Wenger now has to work with and satisfy.

Arsenal have made their first major signing of the summer. The addition of Alexandre Lacazette is a significant one. Signed for a club-record £46 million, which could rise to £52 million given the satisfaction of certain incentives, the Lyon striker satisfies the growing desires of the fans to see their beloved club match the ambition that is so often spouted in twisted, contorted, carefully crafted and designed PR statements.

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However, despite being a substantial upgrade on what is already in the squad, there is a little hesitation and trepidation in regards to Lacazette’s quality. Concerns persist with the level of competition that he has faced in the French league, his going missing in big games, and his inflated scoring numbers thanks to the vast number of penalties that he has converted (10 last season).

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Moreover, Lacazette’s reputation has struggled because of what could have been. In the weeks and days preceding the Lacazette addition, Arsene Wenger was working hard to complete a truly blockbuster deal for Kylian Mbappe, even having an £87 million offer rejected in the process. However, Monaco’s resistence was tough, and Wenger had clearly resigned himself to alternative options, namely Lacazette.

That is why the recent report from the French media claiming that Wenger has had a three-hour meeting with Mbappe and his representative is so unusual. The report counteracts the narrative; Wenger has, reluctantly and sadly, moved on from Mbappe, instead ‘settling’ for Lacazette.

Even if the meeting is true and did really happen, though, it is rather inconsequential. Signing Mbappe would break all of Arsenal’s financial structures. Not only would the fee, likely north of £100 million, be too much to swallow, but his extortionate wages would also overpower the Gunners’ capabilities.

Whenever the rumours of Lacazette and Mbappe first surfaced, because of the financial commitments that it would take to complete either deal, it was always a question of either or. And now that Lacazette has been confirmed, that means that Mbappe, at least for this summer, will not be coming to North London, however exciting it would have been to have him.

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Consequently, I doubt the validity and accuracy of these reports. They simply don’t fit with the narrative. But even if they are true, I suspect there is little significance to them.