Kylian Mbappe is set to become Paris Saint-Germain’s latest stellar addition. The 18-year-old forward will join the capital side on loan from Monaco, with the Ligue 1 giants set to buy him next summer for a fee in the region of €180 million.
The young France international joins a formidable attacking line, which includes Neymar, who is, of course, the world’s most expensive footballer ever, having arrived from Barcelona earlier this month for a staggering €222m.
Even if the Brazil international remains the Parc des Princes side’s main draw, there is little doubt that the arrival of Mbappe at his hometown club has generated a great deal of excitement, too, with PSG beating off competition from all of Europe’s top sides to secure his signing.
But how will the teenager fit into PSG’s system? Here are some possibilities.
This will be the basic go-to formation of Unai Emery’s side and the one in which Mbappe is liable to grow most familiar with in the weeks ahead.
Edinson Cavani will, of course, occupy the centre forward role, having made the position his own by scoring an incredible 49 goals in 50 outings last season. The Uruguay international is also the least suited of PSG’s front three for the wide areas, with both Neymar and Mbappe better at generating chances for others.
However, here Unai Emery has something of a problem as both forwards are more used to playing off the left. As a result, it is likely that the two players find their positions rather fluid, interchanging regularly.
Neymar will be given more freedom than the young France international and is likely to drift into more central roles to make the play, potentially meaning that PSG could even play something akin to an asymmetric 4-3-1-2.
This system is something of a variant on the 4-3-3 and will likely depend on the personnel selected in the midfield.
In normal circumstances, PSG’s trio in the heart of the park will be Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta and Adrien Rabiot.
If Emery, who was a strong proponent of a 4-2-3-1 formation during his time at Sevilla and had been expected to use it a good deal more last season, elects to dispense with one of these holding players for a more orthodox No.10 – probably Javier Pastore – it would prompt this switch in formation.
Should this occur, Neymar will have to be more disciplined about playing a wide role but the idea is likely to be the same, with he and Mbappe trading places on a relatively regular basis.
It is unlikely that Paris Saint-Germain will revert to a 4-4-2 system, but it is a formation that Mbappe knows very well from his time with Monaco, with this being Leonardo Jardim’s go-to setup.
Should Cavani or Neymar need resting, it is not outside the realms of possibility that the Parc des Princes side use this system, although a lack of wide midfielders could make it tricky to implement as effectively as the other formations.
Who plays the wide roles will depend of the players PSG keep over the coming days – Julian Draxler, Angel Di Maria, Lucas Moura and even Pastore all find their place at the Parc des Princes vulnerable.