Former Manchester United star Lee Sharpe does not think the Old Trafford hierarchy should 'baulk' at breaking the world transfer record to sign Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe and believes the Red Devils would make their money back on the French wunderkind through merchandise and marketing.
Mbappe has taken the footballing world by storm with his performances for the principality outfit in the Champions League. He has predictably caught the eye of some of the world's richest clubs, including United's rivals Manchester City, who were put off by the 18-year-old's £110m price tag, according to The Times.
Despite their noisy neighbours' reluctance to part with such a hefty sum, Sharpe, who spent eight years at Old Trafford, says Manchester United would not even 'flinch' at parting with that sort of money for Mbappe, who has two years left on his current contract with Monaco.
"The money in football now is so incredible that clubs don't baulk at any figure," Sharpe said, speaking exclusively to 888Sport. "And if Mbappe is going to score goals and help sell hundreds of thousands of shirts around the world they're probably not going to lose out on the deal anyway. The way marketing is now clubs get their money back reasonably quickly.
"So I don't think Manchester United should baulk at the fee. With Jose Mourinho now they make a statement and being one of the biggest clubs in the world they have to pay transfer fees in accordance with that. So to buy the best in the world to be the best in the world you're going to have to pay that fee. I don't think they'd even flinch to be honest."
Mbappe is far from certain to join Manchester United this summer, but Sharpe, 45, thinks captain Wayne Rooney is destined to leave at the end of the season. The former Everton prodigy has been heavily rumoured with a return to Goodison Park, and Sharpe thinks the 31-year-old will be sorely missed when he does move on.
"I think it probably will be Wayne Rooney's last season," Sharpe added. "He's only 31 so he's still got a lot of good football left in him but the manager hasn't involved him much this season. He'll be expecting to make a bigger contribution elsewhere for the next couple of years, whether that be with his boyhood club of Everton or by trying something different in America.
"When the manager spends big money this summer on a forward we'll see the back of Wayne Rooney, which will be a shame because he's been a fantastic servant for the club. He'll be sorely missed."
Read the full 888sport interview with Lee Sharpe, including his thoughts on how Zlatan Ibrahimovic's absence could be a blessing in disguise for top four chasing United.
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