Collymore’s column: Liverpool and Arsenal should avoid Mbappe, Man United must get Ashworth, and why Alexander-Arnold’s injury is a blow to his EURO 2024 hopes

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In his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, former Aston Villa and Liverpool attacker Stan Collymore discusses some of football’s biggest talking points, including Kylian Mbappe’s future, Dan Ashworth’s potential switch to Man United, how Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury could affect his England career and much more.

Liverpool and Arsenal must avoid bringing Kylian Mbappe to England

Kylian Mbappe will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and it looks like Real Madrid will be the superstar’s next destination. The reason the La Liga giants will very likely be his next club is the same as when I moved from Nottingham Forest to Liverpool. It’s fact that you are following in the footsteps of some of the greatest players to have played the game. You are testing your abilities by trying to match the achievements and numbers of that historic club’s legends.

Players don’t think with the mindset of going somewhere and building from scratch and hoping other players follow their path in the future. From my point of view, most players will think ‘I’m wearing Daglish’s number or I could score more goals than Kevin Keegan’ when joining a huge club with a glorious history. That is why Real Madrid are such a draw for so many players across several generations.

I can see Liverpool or Arsenal trying to get involved in the race but my advice to them would be to stay away from Mbappe. The French star is a great player but he will demolish their wage structure and not only that, the temptation to push the boat out for him will always be there, which could have a ripple effect across the whole dressing room.

Arsenal have a fragile ecosystem built around young players who are all on this journey of getting the Gunners back to the top together. There are no superstar names in that dressing room but they could be in the future. Mbappe had a lot of power at PSG, which was evident over the last few years. That doesn’t just go away and I worry that it could affect this current Arsenal squad if the French star tried to flex his status again in North London. The PSG star would undoubtedly score plenty of goals but would he make the team better?

At Real Madrid, it would be ok as there are other huge names such as Bellingham, Vinicius Jnr, Modric and Kroos; therefore, Mbappe becomes just another superstar within a team of superstars, who also have one of the most respected managers in the world.

The same goes for Liverpool. The Merseyside club have had their best success under Jurgen Klopp by making players into superstars, not signing them. Mbappe would want to have a say in how things are done given his status and how much of an impact would that have on the new manager coming in at Anfield? Could you imagine Xabi Alonso, who is still only finding his feet as a young manager, having to deal with Mbappe in his first season? If the Spanish coach got off to a bad start at Anfield, the media would be saying things like ‘Mbappe isn’t happy with the coaching’, even if that is not true. It would put unnecessary pressure on the new coach, who already has to deal with the pressure of succeeding the legendary figure that is Jurgen Klopp.

People will be reading this and say I’m talking rubbish because he is a superb player and there are no suggestions that he is a disrupter, which I’m also not saying either, but I do feel that he has had so much power given to him at PSG, that he could try and take that with him to his next club and that would not be good for the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool.

Man United need to get Dan Ashworth at all costs

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir David Brailsford are facilitators. They understand that if you bring in the best people in the industry and mould them into a team, you are going to get results. It is not guaranteed, but Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth has been identified as the man INEOS want to be their new sporting director.

With Ashworth, they would have a man who is so in tune with player recruitment in the Premier League; a man who has knowledge of the basement market, by which I mean going out and finding players such as Kaoru Mitoma when he was at Brighton; someone who knows the intermediate market, in which he is turning Newcastle into a team that will consistently be competing in Europe; therefore, he understands the Premier League from top to bottom.

In my opinion, he is the best in the business at the moment and I think he is the right man for Manchester United.

This is Man United’s great flex. It doesn’t matter that a club such as Newcastle have more money than them, they will always be a massive club that people will want to be a part of and only Real Madrid can be said to be the only club bigger than the Manchester outfit. Man United are going through a tough time at present but they will still be able to cough up millions to support Ashworth in his efforts to take United back to the top of the English and European games.

I’m sure the Saudis would have called Dan and said ‘pick a number’, but you might only get one shot at going to a club like Man United and that is what might prompt him to move to Old Trafford.

The coaches at Man United will have no excuses once everything at Manchester club is in place. The Red Devils will have Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Sir Dave Brailsford, Omar Berrada as their new CEO and Dan Ashworth all working towards bringing success back to the Premier League giants. These are the best in the business and they know what they are doing.

However, they still need to acquire the Newcastle sporting director and in my opinion, they should get him at all costs and give him what he needs to do his job to full effect.

The Man City era in Europe

Having watched the majority of the Champions League favourites midweek, I have concluded that this could be a chance for Manchester City to go win two or three European titles and define an era of their own like many clubs have in the past.

Looking at the history of the competition, the clubs who have historically won the Champions League are not in a good place at the moment. Barcelona have financial issues, Bayern Munich aren’t very strong at present, I can’t see any of the Italian clubs emerging as contenders and obviously, Liverpool are not in the competition this season.

I genuinely think that over the coming years, Pep Guardiola’s side could define an era and will eventually be looking across at Man United with the same, if not more, Champions League trophies in their cabinet.

City and Real Madrid are the only ones that can win the competition for me this season but having broken the glass ceiling last year by winning their first one, the Premier League club have the advantage.

What is next for Roy Hodgson after a turbulent week?

It has been a tough week for Roy Hodgson given his health issues and the fact that he is set to be replaced as the manager of Crystal Palace, but there is still a place for the 76-year-old in the sport.

What I think the legendary coach would be perfect for is going into a London club and being a head of football. A guy who can bring together everyone at a club to work towards a common goal. He would sit them down once or twice a week and coordinate things. He wouldn’t have to work seven days a week then, he’d be able to look after his health while still being involved in the sport he loves.

Roy isn’t getting any younger and standing on the touchline of a Premier League pitch brings your heart rate up and takes a physical toll on your body, it is a proper test.

I think it would be a very clever move for Crystal Palace to take on Roy Hodgson behind the scenes and use his years of experience in the sport to help take them forward. Then bring in a coach who can make the players better, such as Graham Potter, and work together towards propelling the London club up the hierarchy of English football – being regulars in the top 10 of the Premier League.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury is a blow to his EURO 2024 hopes

Trent Alexander-Arnold will be heading into the European Championship in Germany this summer wanting a key role with England but his latest injury may hamper that. The 25-year-old has been sensational for Liverpool this season but we know he is not a favourite of Gareth Southgate for the right-back role with the Three Lions.

The England boss has preferred Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and even Reece James over the Liverpool star in the past. Gareth has shown to be loyal to players who have done it for him in previous tournaments and if the above names are performing at a high level heading into the Euros, he will pick them over Alexander-Arnold.

I can see Trent getting into the squad for the Euros this summer, as long as he is fit, and he could be used in midfield if Southgate wants to change things up. However, the Liverpool star needs to be careful with injuries because he has missed almost two months of the season now and with Walker and Trippier around, out of sight could mean out of mind for the right-back heading towards the summer.

The 25-year-old is an incredible talent and I would hate to see him become a Liverpool legend and not having done anything of note with the England national team. This latest injury is a massive blow for him.

Man City perfect next club for Wolves star

There were reports this week that Pedro Neto could leave Wolves this summer and there is only one place he should go and that is Man City.

A lot of Portuguese players have come to Wolves and then been on the doorstep of the “Big Six” English clubs. Diogo Jota left for Liverpool and Man City signed Matheus Nunes last summer, and others have gone on to bigger and better things.

If Man City are in the conversation for Neto this summer and they were to win the Champions League and the Premier League again, it will be a no-brainer from the player’s point of view. The Manchester club could even use Nunes to lure his former teammate to the Etihad by telling him how great it is there and how much better he will get under Pep Guardiola’s watch.

I have always felt that players want to join clubs where they have the best chance of winning trophies and that is a certainty at Man City.

More Stories Dan Ashworth Kylian Mbappe Pedro Neto Roy Hodgson Sir Dave Brailsford Sir Jim Ratcliffe Stan Collymore Trent Alexander-Arnold Xabi Alonso