Soccer’s discovery of Kylian Mbappe might well be one of the most remarkable stories in recent sporting history. The 19-year-old was nurtured through the ranks at Paris Saint-Germain by Neymar’s father, and scored on his PSG debut in a 5-2 win over Sochaux in September. He was subsequently called up for the French Under-20 team and won a Soccer Aid charity match with former England stars Gary Lineker and David Beckham. In May, he won the Ligue 1 player of the year award for the second season running. Now he has featured in every United game so far this summer.
With Real Madrid’s deal for Gareth Bale set to collapse, United’s hopes of striking a deal with PSG for the Frenchman are now looking more and more realistic. The market for attacking players has been thrown into turmoil after Lionel Messi’s move to Barcelona, and an offer of three players in exchange for Mbappe is believed to be close to fruition. He has caught the eye at all three club appearances: He scored a phenomenal goal for his nation against Uruguay in the World Cup semi-final and then blazed a 75-yard goal with his first touch to keep France’s World Cup hopes alive in a 4-3 semi-final win against Portugal. And then there was that flick in United’s 6-0 friendly win over Thailand last week:
Anthony Martial scored the first two goals for United, with Lukaku and Pogba also on target. A goalkeeping error led to Pogba’s second, and Pogba was singled out for criticism for not diving when the defeat to Fenerbahce at the end of last season left United in danger of missing out on the Champions League. Manager José Mourinho responded by calling out a more ruthless edge to Pogba. So far, United have won their opening two Premier League games, beating Leicester 3-2 last weekend and drawing 0-0 with Brighton, and they trail Manchester City by two points with two games in hand. If this is what success looks like at Old Trafford, then people are going to be in for a truly amazing season.