Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay on at Paris Saint-Germain is "better than any signing" for the Ligue 1 champions, according to Patrice Evra.

Mbappe was widely expected to leave PSG as a free agent and sign for Real Madrid but, in a sensational twist, the 23-year-old signed a new three-year contract with the French side.

The striker's mother and agent confirmed on Friday that Mbappe had agreed terms with both clubs and would make a decision over the weekend.

On Saturday, reports in France and Spain suggested Mbappe would remain at PSG and reject Madrid's offer, and the news was confirmed just before Mauricio Pochettino's team took on Metz.

And for ex-Manchester United, Juventus and Marseille defender Evra, that news is wonderful for not only PSG, but French football as a whole.

"I'm really surprised because I genuinely thought he was going to Real Madrid," Evra told Stats Perform.

"But great news, what news for PSG, for France. Even if I played for Marseille, I really want a French team to win the Champions League.

"Now I think they really want to win the Champions League, keeping Kylian Mbappe – what great news, this is amazing. It's better than any signing for PSG."

Evra added to reporters after a team of United legends took on a team of Liverpool legends in a charity game at Old Trafford: "The project, they're going to focus on a player like Mbappe.

"He's professional, he's hungry, he wants to win the Ballon d'Or, win the league, win the Champions League. What a win for all the French league."

Evra's former team-mate Louis Saha added: "Football is crazy, nobody could predict [this]. It's the only situation in the world to see such a player be a free agent.

"It's amazing. It's up to him to make those decisions. It's what we want, that's for sure. Keep on going, wherever he is playing."

Jamie Carragher, meanwhile, was surprised by Mbappe's decision, though is sure the World Cup winner will end up playing in LaLiga eventually.

"I'm surprised, I thought he would go to Real Madrid," the ex-Liverpool defender told Stats Perform.

"It's a big surprise that one, actually. But I'm sure he'll make that move at some stage. Real Madrid or Barcelona or one of the big giants. 

"I'd love to see him in the Premier League I really would, but he looks like he's got a few more years before he moves to Spain."

Louis Saha dreams of Manchester United appointing Zinedine Zidane but insisted the club's players must respect whichever manager is in place if they are to succeed.

United have underwhelmed in the first half of the Premier League season, sitting in seventh under the interim management of Ralf Rangnick after the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Former RB Leipzig coach Rangnick has overseen three wins and a draw in his opening four league games, but is only in temporary charge until the end of the season when the potential for a two-year consultancy role will come into play.

United have already confirmed they will seek out a long-term replacement at the end of the season, which could still end up being the German manager, with the likes of Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino being proposed by many as the leading candidates.

Saha placed his backing in fellow Frenchman Zidane, who has been without a club since leaving Real Madrid last May, as the former United striker outlined the sort of appointment he believes the club requires.

He told Stats Perform: "I feel like anyone who has proved in some way in some capacity, I think Pochettino is one of them.

"But anyone who has proved that you can build a team and make them improve in a way to win the Premier League as [Jurgen] Klopp has done, I think will have the job.

"We need to have the right manager who is able to really give that boost. We've seen this with Ralf on the touchline, that kind of energy, those guys, especially when you have three-quarters of the squad that is quite young – you need to have someone with that kind of energy. 

"I don't want to put Pochettino above anyone. In my dream, I think about Zidane. There are definitely good names that I've heard in the last few weeks. 

"But yes, those are names and the most important is the fit where there is a project. Whoever is coming is not coming for two years because you want to attach his name to a big club."

Saha knows what it takes to win at Old Trafford, given he collected two Premier League titles and a Champions League triumph during his time in Manchester under Alex Ferguson between 2004 and 2008.

Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of United's key figures this campaign, but the pair were labelled as "whingebags" negatively influencing their team by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville following a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United.

Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes quashed any talk of discontent within the Red Devils dressing room as he stated his client's happiness on Friday and Saha believes United's managerial success will be built on respect.

"The formula I've seen that works is because you show respect and you have a very strong man-management," he added. "Ferguson at the time when I've seen that he had so many challenges because you get so much ego in the team. 

"People with a lot of trophies like Roy Keane, like Gary Neville, [Paul] Scholes or [Ruud] van Nistelrooy and you have the youth come in and have that sense of urgency, they want to win, they want to play and all those things. 

"You have to really show as much respect as strength and at the same time, humility. It's a very odd combination, but it's very important you have to really show that you are confident, strong.

"You need the support of everybody because the project is a team thing. So those are the ways to manage because everyone will give them respect. If you miss this thing. You're in trouble."

Asked whether Saha thought that was United's current problem with leadership, he responded: "Yeah, definitely. That's not a problem about talent. That's not a problem about not winning. 

"They want to win, but they don't have the formula, the people around who give them the right indication."

Manchester United will benefit from integrating security, confidence, courage and responsibility rather than splashing out on a blockbuster signing during the January transfer window, according to former striker Louis Saha.

The Red Devils have endured an inconsistent first half of the Premier League season and find themselves in seventh place – four points off the top four and 22 behind leaders Manchester City.

A difficult start to the campaign culminated in the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Ralf Rangnick appointed his successor on an interim basis for the remainder of 2021-22. 

Following the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane during the previous window, more big names have been linked with a move to Old Trafford in a bid to boost the club's fortunes on the field.

But Saha, who scored 42 goals in 124 appearances for United between 2004 and 2008, believes his former club's priorities should be elsewhere.

In an exclusive interview with Stats Perform, he said: "Right now, I don't think that any player is [suitable for Man United in the transfer market] unless you bring in [Erling] Haaland or [Kylian] Mbappe and you know things are going to be very interesting, but I don't think that's going to be the case. 

"This transfer window is always very special and hard to manage. When you actually go into the press and say, 'oh, we need a defender, or we need a midfielder,' the price increases by 30 per cent easily because you're showing that you're desperate. 

"Any agent will take the opportunity to make it difficult, so that's the name of the market. 

"What you have to provide is more about security, confidence, courage, responsibility and all those needs to be integrated. This is where United will mostly benefit."

One of the main pre-season arrivals at Old Trafford, Sancho has yet to truly make a mark with his new employers.

The England international, who scored eight goals and provided 11 assists for Borussia Dortmund in last season's Bundesliga, has only found the net once in 15 Premier League appearances, while he is yet to register his first assist. 

Nevertheless, Saha is confident it is only a matter of time before the winger hits his stride.

"He's a top player, and there are moments like this where confidence can be shattered a little bit," he added.

"But when you have his quality, it's just like maybe one combination, one player that puts you in a better configuration, one dribble, one skill that the guy does on the field – and he's flying again. 

"So, I have no doubt he can score, he can obviously assist and open up any defence for our strikers. So, I do feel like it's an amazing talent to have."

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe is capable of continuing his goalscoring form long into his career similarly to Cristiano Ronaldo, regardless of where he is plying his trade from next season.

That is according to Louis Saha, who also told Stats Perform that he expects Lionel Messi to blow Ligue 1 opponents away once he regains full fitness in the new year.

Mbappe is into the final six months of his existing contract at the Parc des Princes and is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of Ligue 1 from January.

Real Madrid had two bids turned down for the France international in the previous transfer window and remain the strong favourites to land the superstar in 2022.

Mbappe has scored 15 goals and assisted 12 more in 24 outings in all competitions this term in a star-studded attack that also contains Messi and the currently injured Neymar.

Only Mohamed Salah (31) and Robert Lewandowski (33) have been directly involved in more goals than Mbappe this campaign among players from Europe's top five leagues.

And while glad to see Mbappe remain in Ligue 1 for the 2021-22 campaign, Saha understands that his compatriot has a big decision to make on his future in the coming weeks.

"The main thing for me was for him to stay at PSG this year," Saha said. "Whatever he does next year, for me, that was logical for football in general throughout the world. 

"We wanted to see this trio of Mbappe, Messi and Neymar. It's incredible to see and today he has his destiny in his hands. He's a player who is exploding and he's reaching more milestones."

 

Mbappe recently became the youngest player in Ligue 1 history to score 100 goals for a single team with his second of the game for PSG against former club Monaco.

Since making his debut for PSG in September 2017, the 23-year-old has averaged a goal every 104.63 minutes in all competitions.

That ranks Mbappe behind only four others among Europe's elite attackers over that period and marginally ahead of Ronaldo, who averages a goal every 105.8 minutes at club level.

With Ronaldo still scoring regularly as he approaches his 37th birthday, Saha has challenged Mbappe to hit similar heights.

"If he can match Ronaldo's 40 goals a year average from the age of 20, that's something we want to keep seeing from Kylian," Saha said.

"That is not to put pressure on him. Kylian quite simply has the potential to do that."

Mbappe's 27 direct goal involvements this season is substantially more than PSG's next biggest attacking threat, with Messi second on the list with six goals and four assists.

The record seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored just once in 10 Ligue 1 appearances from an expected goals (xG) return of 4.7.

To put that in some context, Mbappe's nine goals in the competition this term have come from an xG of 10.9.

 

But while Messi's PSG career has yet to truly take off, Saha can see that changing once the Barcelona legend gets some regular starts under his belt.

"You can already see players who are not necessarily in great shape like Messi – imagine when he starts to find his form again!" Saha said. "I don't know how teams will cope. 

"PSG are an extraordinary team. I prayed for Mbappe to stay at PSG to see these three exceptional players. Neymar's injury has delayed that, but they have an incredible team. 

"Don't be surprised to see them win the league by 20 or 25 points come the end of the season."

Antonio Conte needs to instil "aggressiveness" in his squad in order to transform "fragile" Tottenham into a force to be reckoned with, according to Louis Saha.

The Italian, who has won major honours with the likes of Inter, Juventus and Chelsea, admitted he was facing the "biggest challenge" of his career at Spurs.

He has inherited a side in decline, with last season's seventh-placed finish their lowest since 2008-09.

After the failed reign of Jose Mourinho and the ill-fated stint of Nuno Espirito Santo, it is Conte's job to revive Tottenham's fortunes, with a return of 10 points from his first four Premier League games hinting at a brighter future to come.

But a chastening loss to Slovenian minnows Mura in the Conference League – a competition in which Spurs' fate remains unknown amid a coronavirus-enforced cancellation of their final group match against Rennes – underlined the frailties still present.

And Saha, who spent a brief spell at Spurs in 2012, outlined the scale task Conte had taken on.

"I think that there are still a lot of things to be done in Tottenham. It's a bit similar to Arsenal," the former Manchester United forward told Stats Perform.

"They are fragile in terms of the squad. They are fragile in terms of consistency, whoever the manager.

"The manager is not playing. He can give you aggressiveness. But if the players themselves are not aggressive, you can't change them. That's their nature.

"Sometimes...you have great players, but they are too nice in some way. And they do not provide what you need to win tough games.

"I'm not saying that they need to be fighters. But I remember, for example, I was playing with Carlos Tevez, with [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy, with [Wayne] Rooney and we were all different, but I felt that they were very aggressive and sometimes I see the players some teams have, when you play away, you need that type of player.

"I don't know if there are enough players like that in such a squad. I'm not trying to compare, but I think it's an indication."

Next up for Conte's side, who are seventh but only three points outside the top four with two games in hand, is Thursday's trip to Leicester City.

Wantaway forward Anthony Martial can revive his Manchester United career if he shows the same aggressive mentality as Cristiano Ronaldo.

That is according to former United striker Louis Saha, who also told Stats Perform it is down to new interim manager Ralf Rangnick to get the best out of Paul Pogba.

Martial's agent revealed last week that the France international, who has spent the past six years at United, is eager to leave in January due to a lack of playing time this season.

Former Monaco forward Martial has played just 358 minutes of football for the Red Devils in all competitions this season – the 20th most in the squad – and only started four times.

He scored 17 goals under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer two seasons ago, but found the net just four times in all competitions last season and only once so far this term.

But Saha does not believe it is too late for Martial – who has not featured in a matchday squad in Rangnick's three games in charge – to get his career back on track at United.

"He needs a big switch in his mentality," Saha said of his compatriot. "I heard that he doesn't listen to any critics, he just protects himself and his self-belief and all that.

"Sometimes you must listen. You need to hear the critics and understand you have so much potential and that's why you've been criticised – because you can do much more. 

"The mentality that Cristiano is showing, that's something that you need to have as a number nine. And the number nine at the moment is Martial. 

"So he really needs to be very aggressive. And this is what I want because I think he's a terrific player and it's not because he's French. 

"I love his potential when he's playing with full confidence, it's just unstoppable. I can see him being part of this squad when there's a proper aggressiveness in his approach to games. 

"Maybe you can last four or five games, 70 minutes because you can't do anymore, but then you go to 80 minutes and then 90 minutes." 

Martial is not the only Frenchman facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford, with midfielder Pogba now into the final six months of his contract.

Rangnick stated last week it is not his job to persuade Pogba, who is out until 2022 with a thigh injury sustained last month, to sign a new deal.
 
Despite featuring in just 13 of United's 22 games in all competitions this term, Pogba's tally of seven assists is bettered only by Bruno Fernandes (eight) among his team-mates.

Indeed, each of those assists have come in the Premier League from nine appearances. 

Of those to have played as many games in Europe's top five leagues this term, only Angers midfielder Mathias Pereira Lage (1.08) and Cologne's Louis Schaub (1.24) have assisted more goals per 90 minutes than Pogba (1).

And Saha insists there is a place in the United side for Pogba once he has recovered from injury, even if his playing style is not necessarily suited to a Rangnick-coached team.
 
"It's not like every player needs to press," said Saha, who spent four years at United before leaving in 2008. "That's not the way football is. 

"Some players have a great quality to do that and some can read the games and can be the counter-attacker in some way. There are so many combinations. 

"This is where the balance is really important for a manager. You need to find the kind of right formula for the players to express themselves to the best. 

"Paul Pogba is not well known and you will never be well known to press and be like N'Golo Kante. It's just not his quality. His quality is somewhere else."

Pogba often comes in for criticism, but Saha has urged his countryman to do his talking where it matters most.

"That's the problem for Paul. It's not about quality and it's not about mentality. When he is on the field, he never hides, he works, he commits," Saha said.

"Just play, just enjoy, just work hard, just speak on the field. I don't want to hear anyone talk and I know that.

"And you can see the best players like [Lionel] Messi, Ronaldo, they don't need to speak. Nobody is speaking. You don't need to defend yourself when you're performing."

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha cannot believe "insane" claims that Cristiano Ronaldo was a bad signing for the Red Devils.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford from Juventus in the last transfer window and is comfortably the club's top scorer in all competitions this term, scoring 12 times from 17 appearances - seven clear of the next-highest scorers Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood.

The 36-year-old also has the highest expected goals tally of any United player across all competitions with 9.67 - Fernandes is next with 3.46.

Saha - who played for the Red Devils between 2004 and 2008, scoring 28 times in 86 Premier League appearances for the club - does not see how anyone could view the acquisition of Ronaldo as anything but a success.

"It's insane to say that [Ronaldo was a bad signing]. Absolutely insane," Saha told Stats Perform.

"I've heard so many people jump on the bandwagon and criticise him because he's missed a game, people blaming the sacking of Solskjaer on him because he's 'a hard player to manage.'

"He guarantees you goals and [people] say this? I was baffled, but at the same time you look at his career and he is someone who wants to win and to score goals. That is such an asset. It's unbelievable to average 40 goals a year - 30 would be amazing."

Saha insisted that Ronaldo does not need to press to be effective in Ralf Rangnick's system, explaining that the Portugal international is not only a goal threat, but that his presence creates space for his team-mates.

"I think he [adapted] straight away," he continued. "He arrived as a 36-year-old playing on the wing who can score goals.

"People say he needs to press - that's not why he's here. He's here to score goals. He opens up opportunities for others, whereas before it was all about Fernandes or maybe [Anthony] Martial.

"Cristiano could have scored recently but played the ball to [Donny] Van de Beek instead, showing he's a team player as well. If he's playing well United will win."

Ronaldo will be hoping to add to his six Premier League goals this term as United face strugglers Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar offer a unique attraction at Paris Saint-Germain, according to former France international Louis Saha.

Messi ended a 21-year association with Barcelona, amid the Catalan club's financial difficulties, to join PSG on a free transfer and Mauricio Pochettino unleashed his much-vaunted frontline for the first time on Wednesday.

While the Ligue 1 outfit were held to a 1-1 draw by Club Brugge in the Champions League, Saha has expressed excitement about the trio as PSG look to challenge domestically and in Europe.

"It is exceptional for all those who love beautiful football to be able to watch or even imagine watching a trio like Messi, Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappe," Saha told Stats Perform.

"It's true that I was anxious to see Mbappe potentially go to Real Madrid.

"I found it unfortunate, almost for world football, because we just want to see this trio, even if it is only six months. It's a show, it's like the best actors in the world making a movie together.

"That's why fans all over the world watch this sport. It is because of exceptional talents.

"Sometimes you want to forget about the economy, forget about sponsorship and everything else to think about the show. You have to protect it almost because it's unique.

"And we have to realise how lucky we are to have this type of show in Ligue 1 because frankly, in modern football, it's incredible."

 

The trio have yet to click but, as they prepare to face Lyon on Sunday, Mbappe has been the man in form so far.

The France forward has scored four times already and will be looking forward to facing Lyon, who he has scored against eight times – his favourite opponent in Ligue 1.

However, the 22-year-old has repeatedly been linked with a move to Real Madrid and with less than a year left on his current contract, Saha is hoping PSG can keep a hold of their star.

"It's difficult to understand because it seems to be a 'no-brainer', as they say in English," Saha said.

"When you say Messi is coming, that's what you [Mbappe] had asked for in terms of transfer to be competitive and so on.

"He lets people speak, as they say, and he knows where he wants to go and that's to his credit. I love the fact when you know what you want, when you have a vision and you are clear with yourself.

"I see it in his performances. He's on the run. He's scoring goals. All I hope is that he has as much fun as he makes us dream and then it's his destiny.

"I just like the prospect of Neymar, Mbappe and Messi not necessarily challenging each other on goals, but challenging each other at the peak level of what you could find in terms of a trio.

"[They can] make us dream. That's what we expect. When I see a Manchester United team or a Chelsea team or something else, even if I support one or another team, what I want to see is an authentic show, so it's an opportunity to see something exceptional."

Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United will propel Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side towards Champions League success, according to former Red Devil Louis Saha.

Ronaldo has arrived back at Old Trafford, ending a 12-year absence from United after spells with Juventus and Real Madrid, with whom he won the continental competition four times.

Saha was in his final bow with Alex Ferguson's side at the time of Ronaldo's first Champions League triumph, the Portugal forward scoring eight times en route to victory in the 2007-08 campaign.

Returning as a 36-year-old goal poacher, the former Madrid star equalled Iker Casillas' appearance record in Europe against Young Boys in his 177th match, and Saha believes Ronaldo can drive Solskjaer's side to success.

"I think so, yes, I think it [Ronaldo to United] is a game changer," Saha told Stats Perform when asked if United could win the Champions League.

"I do think that the Champions League is the hardest competition. Yes, the Premier League is a marathon and you have five to six clubs who can actually win it.

"But the Champions League in a way that it works when you have groups, you will definitely have to win [against] the bigger clubs or the biggest clubs that's for sure."

Saha, who was speaking after United's 2-1 defeat to Young Boys, is convinced Solskjaer has a squad that is built to achieve at the highest level.

"United has the balance that they didn't over the years to win the Champions League," he said. "We had maybe a less quality squad when we won the Champions League.

"We have seen it with Chelsea, I don't think they had a great squad but it's about the team and about the team spirit and how you want to win it more than others.

"The ability to not make any mistakes as they have done [against Young Boys], this is the type of challenge the Champions League will provide to any good side who wants to go win the Champions League.

"So that's the formula, game by game this team can improve and definitely challenge for the victory [Champions League trophy]."

Despite surrendering a one-goal lead against Young Boys on Tuesday, Ronaldo created another record with his opener – the longest gap between goals for the same club in the competition's history (12 years and 132 days).

The Swiss side also became the 36th different club the forward has scored against as he extended his goal count to 135 goals in 177 games, 15 ahead of second-placed Lionel Messi in the all-time scoring list.

With Ronaldo leading the line, Saha envisages continuous success for United for three reasons as they look to challenge domestically and in Europe.

"The first one is because the guy is very obsessed in front of the goal," he said.

"It will bring this kind of like obsession and demanding from his players around. The second one is his stats, he is a player who's going to score goals for fun.

"He's already on three goals in two games. Let's say that it's a guarantee. If he plays you will have 25 to 30 goals, maybe not in the Premier League, but combined it's almost kind of a guarantee.

"At the same time the actual impact mentally on other teams. You go there and you have [Raphael] Varane, [Jadon] Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, combined with the already very talented squad.

"I think he gives a different aura to the squad, it does bring definitely United forward in those aspects so it's a huge change for the title [race]. [They are] definitely up there with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea I would say."

Cristiano Ronaldo was destined to be one of the best footballers in the world from the outset, according to former Manchester United team-mate Louis Saha.

The pair crossed paths during Saha's four-year stint at Old Trafford between 2004 and 2008, just as Ronaldo burst onto the scene following his arrival from Sporting CP.

The Portugal captain would go on to score 118 times in 292 appearances for United before sensationally returning for a second spell last month.

Ronaldo hit the ground running with a brace against Newcastle United – the only team he has a Premier League hat-trick against – in his first game back at the club last weekend and was also on target in a 2-1 Champions League defeat at Young Boys on Tuesday.

Saha said he recognised Ronaldo was a special talent soon after he first joined United.

"I saw it straight away," Saha told Stats Perform. "When you realise that the guy at this young age can do what he was able to do after a few games you realise that the guy is just an animal of work as well outside of the field.

"He is always obsessed about his game and how to improve straightaway.

"Maybe after a few months, he was already very confident in claiming that he was the best or he would be the best player in the world.

"So all those things were a big sign that the guy has something special in terms of skill, but [also] in terms of mentality and confidence.  All this make me fairly quickly believe that he had massive potential to be a top star.

"I'm not surprised from the moment he left United, I'm not surprised that he keeps doing it at this level because when you have the talent and you manage then to work harder than anyone who is a bit laborious, that's a fantastic combo."

However, it has not all been straightforward since Ronaldo's return, with 10-man United surprise losers to Young Boys on a landmark 177th Champions League appearance for the forward as he equalled Iker Casillas' record.

Ronaldo scored against his 36th different club in the competition on Tuesday, with 12 years and 132 days the biggest gap between Champions League goals for the same club in the competition's history.

But as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side failed to defend their one-goal lead, Ronaldo could be seen animatedly issuing instructions alongside his manager and Saha is interested to see how their new relationship will work.

"I think I will say that it could be strange for Ole in some way, more than for Cristiano because I think we have seen it all when he moved to [Real] Madrid and then to Juventus and improved as a superstar," he continued.

"So now to actually manage a player like that you played with, it must be a bit strange but at the same time, he's a very smart lad and at the same time, Cristiano is here to win.

"There is no conflict there. It's just about how to actually get the result they both want.

"I think he has the luxury to get to, let's say, the finished product in his hand. It's brilliant as a manager to be in that position and to [have] one of the best players in the world.

"So I don't think that is it any difficulty for him, just the players around will need to adapt. They need to play a certain way to optimise Cristiano Ronaldo, [he] is not 25 anymore. You have to play to a certain strategy."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.