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 By Ian Holyman

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger tracking Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed he is keeping tabs on Kylian Mbappe and told The Ligue 1 Show the Monaco youngster "could be another Thierry Henry."

Mbappe, 18, has drawn comparisons with Arsenal legend Henry, whose own career started as a teenager at the Stade Louis II, as a result of his pace, dribbling skills and finishing ability.

He replaced Henry as Monaco's youngest ever top-flight scorer in February last year when he netted against Troyes aged 17 years, two months and one day.

"Mbappe is not exactly Thierry Henry, but it's true he has similar qualities," Wenger, who handed a 17-year-old Henry his Ligue 1 debut while Monaco boss, said.

"The talent is similar. After that, does he have the same level of motivation, desire and intelligence that Thierry had? The next two years will tell us that, but the first signs are very promising."

Kylian Mbappe has been compared to former Monaco forward Thierry Henry.

Monaco handed Mbappe a new three-year contract last season after links with Arsenal first emerged and the forward has said in recent weeks that he rejected interest from Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain because he felt Monaco were the right club at this stage of his career.

Wenger, though, said he retains an interest.

"We follow him, we know him very well, he's developing well. I think he extended his contract last season with Monaco so it's Monaco who will decide about his future," Wenger said, before adding with a smile: "He could be another Thierry Henry."

Mbappe -- who, like Henry, grew up in the Paris region -- made his Ligue 1 debut shortly before his 17th birthday last season.

"Guys with a super talent are ready at 18," Wenger said. "Those who are not playing at 18, 19 don't have that exceptional talent, and he does play over here [in France] at the top level.

"He's a guy who's electric like Thierry was, can dribble, can pass people and is efficient."

Wenger was asked about Mbappe at his prematch news conference on Friday. When questioned on whether the club had actively tried to sign him, Wenger said: "It was at stake last season. But he decided to stay where he was."

Mbappe has only been used sparingly by Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim this season, although he has still managed to muster three goals from just six league starts, helping his club to the top of the table.

After starring in the France under-19 team's European Championship triumph last summer, Mbappe had hoped to feature more regularly, but the spectacular form of fellow forwards Radamel Falcao and Valere Germain has limited his opportunities.

It led his father, Wilfried, to tell L'Equipe of his son's frustration at being down the pecking order, and that "if it was for this, he might as well have gone to a big, big club."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


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