The Frenchman says he has ambitions of returning to the Emirates Stadium as a sporting director and has targets he’d like to see the Gunners chase
Arsenal legend Robert Pires believes that Arsene Wenger would be willing to pay the funds to sign 18-year-old attacker Kylian Mbappe, as long as he believes he is the right player.
Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe has attracted attention from various clubs in Europe and while his price tag is expected to fetch over £100m, Pires believes does not think that will put the manager off, despite his reputation for financial prudence.
Pires, 43, who has been linked with a role as sporting director, is aware of the calibre of player the Gunners require to sign and already has a personal shortlist.
“I have a long list. Mbappe, Alexandre Lacazette, Ousmane Dembele, Thomas Lemar – this is my list, be careful. I’m not the manager but I believe in Arsene Wenger for the new season and to spend a lot of money on players. He knows the market is very difficult this summer and he has a lot of work to do but I’m confident,” he said at Arsenal’s Puma home kit launch event in Kings Cross.
“I’m always confident. When I talk about football and the Premier League I think everything is possible. Man United spent a lot of money for Paul Pogba last summer and I think Arsenal can spend a lot of money on one player like Mbappe. A lot of teams want Mbappe, like Madrid, but there will be a difficult fight for him.”
Furthermore, Pires, who won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups during his time at Arsenal and regularly trains with the first-team squad as part of his own fitness regime, has admitted that it would be a “dream” to return to the club as sporting director but says the role isn’t a priority for the Gunners right now.
He continues to have a close relationship with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and while he recently poured scorn on having a director of football at Emirates Stadium, the role appeals to Pires for a variety of reasons – although he’s not sure whether or not it will happen.
“Soon? I don’t know. But this is my dream because I love Arsenal,” Pires said.
“I have a very good relationship with the club, especially with Arsene Wenger. It’s not a priority for the club – maybe one day – but for the moment it’s not in Arsenal’s plans. The most important thing is to build a good team for next season.”