Football is full of “what if” and “if only” transfers that never happened, but which could have drastically altered the future of certain clubs and players. That is the case with Kylian Mbappe and Arsenal, whose paths came ever so close to crossing.
In fact, the French star was trailed by Arsene Wenger when he was a teenager at AS Bondy. As we all know, Wenger was not successful in his attempts to bring a then relatively unknown Mbappe to North London, but he came agonisingly close.
An easy deal
As recalled by former Arsenal player and scout Giles Grimandi, the operation at one stage looked like a relatively simple one. Mbappe was 14 years old, had an expiring contract and there was little competition from other clubs.
The problem was simply that Arsenal couldn’t convince the teenage Mbappe that his future lay in London. The young player chose to stay closer to home and joined Monaco instead.
“The job of scouting is about finding but also missing players. For me, it is Kylian Mbappe. We just could not convince him,” Grimandi told ‘The Sun’.
“He was out of contract in June 2013 and we met him in February. If we could have convinced him to join, he would have changed the club – but he then decided on Monaco.
“Arsenal were not always playing their best so it was quite complicated. At first it was easy, as soon as we talked to a player he wanted to sign it. However, if you are not getting results it is difficult to bring top players to help the team.”
A second failed attempt
Mbappe made his senior debut for Monaco in 2015, just two years after joining. In 2016, Arsenal made a second attempt, with Wenger even visiting his house, but this time it was PSG the Gunners lost out to.