Legendary former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Kylian Mbappe could have signed for Arsenal on a free transfer earlier in his career, according to beIn Sports via Sky Sports.
In 2016, the PSG attacker was unsure about whether he wanted to extend his stay at Monaco. As he was in the process of making that decision, Wenger met with the Frenchman and was at his house trying to convince him to join the Gunners for free. The North London side were close to securing the signing of the 22-year-old but he was eventually convinced to stay at Monaco and he went on to have a breakthrough season in the 2016/17 campaign.
On Mbappe, Wenger said:
“We can talk about Mbappe, I was at his home when he was undecided whether to extend his contract with Monaco. He could have come to Arsenal for free. I would say every club is full of histories like that.”
“You go to Milan, to Manchester, Arsenal, Chelsea there are these kind of stories everywhere.”
In 2017, Mbappe decided to leave Monaco and there were a host of clubs interested in the player. Wenger, a long-time admirer of the player, held discussions with him again with a view to bring him to the Emirates. He is understood to have taken his family out for a meal and held a three-hour discussion with the World Cup winner about joining the Gunners.
Mbappe has spoken of his fondness for Wenger but eventually decided to join Paris Saint-Germain on a season-long loan deal which was converted into a permanent transfer costing in excess of 150 million.
In 2018, Mbappe talked about his admiration for Wenger. He said:
“I met with Arsene Wenger, who is a great coach. He has a great reputation here in France, he’s well-respected and knows how to develop young players. This was a real option for me.”
“I dream of being managed by Arsène Wenger. He is French, he’s had a great career and now he is free because he has left Arsenal.”
“We weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of all the clubs but my family told me it had to be my decision and one I needed to make.”
The 22-year-old has lit up French football during his time at PSG and led them to the Champions League final last season. During his time at the club, he has scored 111 goals and provided 59 assists in 153 appearances across all competitions.
Earlier this week, he scored a phenomenal hat-trick in PSG’s 4-1 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash at the Camp Nou. He will have one year remaining on his contract in the summer and a host of clubs including Real Madrid and Liverpool are interested in the player.
It is interesting to think about how different the landscape of football would have looked had Wenger convinced him to sign for Arsenal the day he was in the Mbappe household almost five years ago.
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