Wenger Tried To Talk Him Into Signing For Arsenal
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Kylian Mbappe admits he once turned down the chance to move to Arsenal.
The France World Cup winner, who picked up the Trophee Kopa on Monday as the best young player in the world, was tracked by Arsenal from the age of 14. Gunners scouts watched Mbappe work his way up through the ranks at Monaco and regular readers of Football Gossip will have noted his name from the 2016-17 season onwards.
Arsene Wenger sat down with Mbappe and his family in the early part of 2017 and spent three hours trying to persuade him to move to the Emirates.
But Mbappe had a stellar second half of that season helping Monaco to the Ligue 1 title and to the semi-finals of the Champions League. But as the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Barcelona got involved and his valuation headed upwards of £100million it became obvious that he wasn’t going to join the Gunners.
In the end, Mbappe moved to PSG on a season-long loan in the summer of 2017 with a fee of £166million paid when the move was made permanent at the end of last season.
Speaking to France Football after Monday night’s award, Mbappe revealed what Arsene Wenger told him when he heard he was moving to PSG instead of Arsenal.
‘He is a real French football monument who has left Arsenal. I have not seen many people in this world being viewed in such a unanimous way,” said the 19-year-old.
“When the entirety of Europe gets on its knees in front of him to celebrate him, that certainly means something.
“A little while ago, before I signed for PSG, we were in contact in 2017. I chose a different direction but he wasn’t annoyed at me. He was a gentleman about it and wished me good luck.”
Mbappe was also fulsome in his praise of current Arsenal boss Unai Emery who was in charge at PSG last season.
“I do not forget that he helped me adapt to this big team, which was not easy,” he said.
Mbappe was part of the PSG side that won a domestic treble in France last season. They dropped points for the first time this season with a 2-2 draw at Bordeaux on Sunday. However, they remain 13 points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand.