Gunning for Mbappe
LONDON players happy. I want players ready to fight and to try to put themselves in the team, to try to win together.
“Then, if you are happy or unhappy, I don’t care.”
Having won Serie A five times with Juventus, Conte knows how to insulate his players from the pressures of the title battle and it would be a major surprise if they surrender their four-point lead over Tottenham.
The 47-year-old isn’t taking anything for granted however and urged his players to focus on beating Middlesbrough rather than looking ahead to a potential title celebration later in the week.
“For me it’s not the first time to win the title. I have a good experience to face this type of situation,” he said.
“But it won’t be easy until the end. My expectation for this game is we must play a great game against Middlesbrough.
“They are struggling to avoid relegation. We must be ready to fight, ready to find the right way to take three points.”
With only one win in their last 18 matches, second-bottom Middlesbrough must win on Monday and hope other results go their way to have any chance of a dramatic escape from relegation.
“We’ve not had much luck this season. If that comes our way over the next few days, then we’ll take it,” Middlesbrough manager Steve Agnew said. AFP LONDON: Arsenal have not given up chasing Monaco’s teenage starlet Kylian
Mbappe even though there is an acceptance within the club that the continued uncertainty over Arsene Wenger’s future means that they could end up at the back of the queue for summer signings.
Monaco will demand €100million (RM477 million) for the 18-year-old who has been the outstanding teenager in the Champions League this season but with Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United all keen, Arsenal are likely to find themselves frustrated once again.
However, Arsenal insiders say that they would pay the required amount – which would amount to more than double the current transfer record of £40 million (RM225 million) paid for Mesut Ozil.
Their pitch to Mbappe will be that he will play every week at Arsenal — which is unlikely at Real Madrid — and that he will play as a centre forward, where he may be forced out wide at other clubs.
Arsenal’s only other hope is that they attempted to sign the player when he was 16 and have wanted him for three years now. Wenger last week told beIN Sports that he visited Mbappe's home last year to persuade him to come Arsenal.
However, given the calibre of clubs now interested and Arsenal’s diminished status, with Champions League football unlikely, that is likely to count for little.
Arsenal will chase a centre forward and will make fresh approaches to Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, especially if Alexis Sanchez joins Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
Again, Arsenal would have to find £70million to sign the 27year-old. They also need to sign a reserve right back but have already secured Schalke's Sead Kolasinac at left back. They are expected to add a midfielder as well.
Meanwhile, Wenger himself has insisted he will not turn on his players and criticise them publicly despite their underachievement this season, as they take on Manchester United on Sunday attempting to keep their feint Champions League hopes alive.
And he insists that the Arsenal players will be determined to demonstrate their desire against United, despite their limp defeat by Tottenham in the north London derby last week and a run of just four wins in 11 Premier League games.