Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe, Eden Hazard: Who will be the perfect fit at Real Madrid?
Real Madrid is going through a horrific season and is effectively out of every competition that they have participated this season. Santiago Solari has been swapped with Zinedine Zidane at the helm and now the Frenchman has a lot to do at the club. The players currently in possession of the club are not enough for the Los Blancos to compete at the top level. The mix of experience and youth without a proven match-winner in their side is not working for the club.
As usual, big names are always linked with the club, whether they know about it or not is a different matter. Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo left, the void and the absence of the goals is a matter which has not been addressed yet. Mariano Diaz was a signing who was hyped a lot but didn't end up being the player he was expected to. Vinicius Junior is just a young kid. So, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe and Sadio Mane are the players who have been linked with the Los Blancos recently. Not to mention the likes of Harry Kane, Paul Pogba, and Christian Eriksen.
We are talking about wingers here, so without further ado, let us look at what they offer to the team. We will talk about their playing style, how they will fit into Zidane's tactics, compatibility with the Spanish style of play. First up, Kylian Mbappe.
Doing its rounds all right. This rumor has one job, keep popping up. It was among the talks when Mbappe was at Monaco, it rose again after the World Cup, and now it is up again. So Kylian Mbappe. Do we even need to talk about his playing style? Let's just get a quick glance. He is an insanely fast player, a good dribbler, a good finisher. Plays in the right wing at PSG and favors to ram through the defenses. Unlike many players, we haven't yet seen Mbappe shoot from range on frequent occasions. Also, he does cut in to pass but not to get the ball into his favored foot and shoot, at least not from the edge of the box.
Among all that surrounds Mbappe, the hype, the status, the rumors of the big-money move are also there. So will Mbappe find himself in the whites of Madrid?
First things first. Mbappe won't come cheap. PSG bought him for €180 million from Monaco and they won't let him go for cheap, but they have to let him go if the amount is paid. FFP regulations won't allow PSG to keep tight hold of the player if the player is willing to go. Of course, Mbappe will be willing to join Real Madrid. But is he worth the money? Madrid has to spend around €250 million to land Mbappe. If they spend that amount, then will they be able to fill the other voids? We don't think so.
Adaptability at Zidane's Madrid
Mbappe currently plays in the right wing and Madrid desperately needs somebody to play there. Lucas Vazquez has been far from impressive on the right wing despite promising signs. The fullbacks in the right wing, Carvajal and Odriozola, both haven't been in good touch with both Vazquez and Gareth Bale. They haven't shared the connection that a Messi-Alba duo, or a Robertson-Mane duo shares. Fair to say that none of the players are in great touch, but there haven't been promising signs in the right wing as much as there has been from Reguilon and Vinicius in the left side.
If Kylian Mbappe joins, he can just walk into the lineup. Now from watching PSG's games, there is a point of concern for Real Madrid. Mbappe doesn't have a good connection with his partners on the right-hand side either. So does he help the fact that the player linkup hasn't been great on the right side, doesn't seem like it.
Another point of concern when Mbappe joins is the front three. With the funds that Madrid have for transfers, Mbappe would possibly be the only player they can afford. They cannot afford Sadio Mane or Eden Hazard alongside him. What that does is create an inexperienced front three. Asensio or Vinicius in the right side, Benzema or Rodrygo in the middle, Mbappe in the left. Mbappe is just a young kid. He hasn't even stepped out of France. At the national team, he plays with his French teammates with whom he has good enough understanding. But visible from Mbappe's games in the Champions League, he isn't extraordinary as he seems in the Ligue 1.
Can Madrid afford to gamble with Mbappe on one wing and Vinicius on the other, or Asensio on the other? Karim Benzema is aging. Mbappe is not a creator, neither is Vinicius. Does Madrid still want to rely on Benzema to create rather than the people they sign? We haven't seen much of Rodrygo but he will take his sweet time to adapt too.
Mbappe can offer a solution for the long-term on his position. He can secure and he can improve on his game. But we cannot expect him to create chances. Madrid needs to find somebody else to drop deep and create. For a short term, which suggests next season, signing Mbappe cannot be a solution to challenge for trophies. Not Mbappe alone. And with the transfer money that Mbappe will cost, he is the only forward they can sign. But the silver lining comes with the fact that Bale will get Madrid a good amount of money, and maybe Varane leaving will also a good amount of money. Perhaps Hazard can be afforded with that money which is needed to create a strong trident. If not, then don't expect a vast improvement from the front three.
Mbappe can run with pace, dribble with pace, but with all due respect, LaLiga isn't Ligue 1. We have seen a player of Kaka's stature struggling here. We are seeing a player of Coutinho's stature struggling after performing exceedingly well at Liverpool. We cannot expect a youngster to take the league by storm all of a sudden.