Antoine Griezmann 'perfect' for Arsenal as club are urged to sign Kevin Mbappe

Nick Howson
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Arsenal will complete the signing of Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe and should pursue Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann in order to spark a new era of success in north London, according to ex-midfielder Robert Pires.

The Gunners have not staged a genuine challenge for the Premier League title since they last won the championship in 2004 and this season are set to miss out on a place in next season's Champions League.

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The summer transfer window is likely to prove crucial to the club's attempts to return to the top four. The future of both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil is uncertain, but manager Arsene Wenger is expected to sign a new two-year deal with the club amid mounting speculation over his intentions.

Wenger has dropped a major hint over Arsenal's plans for the summer transfer window after confirming his interest in Mbappe, who has been compared to fellow-Frenchman Thierry Henry. Pires has dismissed the comparison between the pair but believes the 18-year-old will move to The Emirates Stadium in the near future.

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"The comparison is unnecessary, he's not ready to be compared to Thierry," he told bookmakers Bwin of the France international, who has scored 23 goals this season for the Ligue 1 leaders and Champions League semi-finalists. "Mbappe is a very similar player but to compare the two players would be unfair. I hope that Kylian can follow in the footsteps of Thierry Henry, he has the same profile as Thierry – quick, strong and a great finisher – but he's very young so I would hold off on comparisons just yet.

Antoine Griezmann

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"I do think Arsenal will sign him. The problem is how much. Mbappe has the potential to play for Arsenal and Wenger is the right manager to manage him. Monaco and Arsenal are very similar in clubs, so it won't be much of a transition."

Spanish radio station Cadena Cope reported last month that Monaco have already rejected a €110m (£92.2m, $118.5m) bid from United in an effort to recoup more for the forward in the future. The Old Trafford club have also been heavily linked with a move for Atletico Madrid hitman Griezmann, whose release clause reportedly stands at £86m.

Kylian Mbappe

But Pires wants Arsenal to end years of frugal spending by acquiring the ex-Real Sociedad striker for £100m, a deal which could potentially prove too large for United to match. Griezmann has scored 26 times this season for Diego Simeone's side and appears destined to move to English football sooner rather than later.

"Antoine Griezmann," added Pires when asked which played would like his former side to sign. "He's the perfect signing for Arsenal, but I know he'll be very expensive. I think he'll break the £100m mark and I know Manchester United are keen to buy him, but for me, if I had the chance I would spend every penny I have on Griezmann. He's one of the best players in the world not named [Cristiano] Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi."

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