One man who certainly knows a thing or two of signing for Real Madrid as a youngster is Nicolas Anelka.
The Frenchman joined Madrid in the summer of 1999 at the age of 20, for €35m from Arsenal. And although it didn’t work out for Anelka, he expressed in an interview with MARCA his desire of seeing Kylian Mbappe making a similar move.
The Paris Saint Germain superstar is the primary target for Madrid in the 2021 transfer window, and should he not renew his current contract in Paris, Anelka believes Mbappe has the keys to succeed.
Q: At the moment it’s Karim Benzema leading the line, do you think Kylian Mbappé will be next?
“He has the talent for sure, he has everything, but Madrid needs to change its way of playing to get the best out of him. Especially if they want him to be a nine, Mbappe will need to change his game for it. If he plays like Cristiano Ronaldo did, he will do well and score many goals. It depends on how Madrid uses him, because Kylian does not have the same game as Benzema. Mbappé needs a lot of space, speed, and if Madrid uses Mbappé as they use Benzema, we will see a good player but not the best version of him as we see him at Paris Saint Germain. You have to know how to get the best out of him, and Madrid’s game right now is not based on speed or counter-attacks.”
Q: But is Mbappe more a nine or is he better used elsewhere?
“He can be both, but if it is as a nine, you have to know how to exploit his speed, but you can also play him on the right and he’ll score as Cristiano did. He is very fast, that’s why I say that he shouldn’t be used as Benzema. But hey, there will be a coach who will know what’s best for him. But it is clear that he has everything to be a Madrid player.”
Q: His signing this year seems complicated, do you not see him as the best successor to Benzema in two or three years?
“It will be a battle, without a doubt, because PSG will not want to sell him, nor do I think they need the money. They want to win the UEFA Champions League with him, so will they let him go to Madrid? I do not know. If he wants to leave, I don’t know if he wants to right now, we’ll see, but at either clubs he’ll do well, and so I don’t know if Madrid will be able to sign him.”