Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal were close to signing Kylian Mbappe, who left Monaco for Paris Saint Germain in an initial loan deal during the transfer window.
Having played a starring role in helping Monaco win the league title and reach the last four of the UEFA Champions League last term, Mbappe firmly established himself as one of the brightest young talents in world football. It was no surprise, then, that a host of clubs were keen to sign him this summer.
For a while it looked as though Real Madrid would win the race for the 19-year-old, but it was PSG who signed him on a loan deal for the current campaign ahead of a £165million permanent move next year. But Wenger claims the Gunners were close to signing the player, who did hold talks with the club.
“He was close to joining us, maybe closer last year than this year because the competition was a bit smaller than it is today,” said Wenger, who is looking to get his side’s season back on track this weekend. “I personally think for 90 per cent of players, their careers depend on where they choose to go.
“But for 10 per cent of players, they can choose where they want and they will make a great career. He is in the 10 per cent. He can close his eyes and chose ‘I’ll go here, I’ll go there’ to Madrid, to Arsenal, to Manchester United and he’ll have a great career, he’s an exceptional football player.”
Arsenal have lost two of their opening three Premier League fixtures, the latter of which was a humiliating 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool at Anfield. This weekend they take on Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium, in what already feels like a must-win game for the Londoners.