Kylian Mbappe is a generational talent who is ready to take the mantle from the ageing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as well as take football forward.
He proved that with an incredible display at the recently concluded World Cup FIFA World Cup – the biggest stage any footballer can prove themselves in their careers.
Mbappe played a huge role in helping France make it to the final and almost won it for them – scoring a sensational hat-trick in the final.
He ended the tournament with eight goals and the Golden Boot – coming out of it looking like a superstar.
The talents of Mbappe would be wanted by any major European side. Some attitude issues aside, the Frenchman is one of the most devastating attacking players in world football.
Be it his incredible pace, dribbling ability or near-unmatched finishing ability – he has all the traits to elevate a top club to champion status.
He nearly completed a move to Real Madrid last summer as a free agent, before shocking the football world by signing a record contract with PSG.
The Frenchman is contracted to stay with Ligue 1 until 2024, but rumours of him being unhappy and wanting out come out every now and then.
The major problem is that even if he was made available for transfer, a club would have to pay a world-record fee to sign him.
PSG themselves signed him for €180m and would want much more than that to let him go. As a result, it’s near impossible for any club to be able to afford his transfer fees as well as gigantic wage demands.
How close were Arsenal to signing Mbappe?
Arsenal are definitely not going to be able to afford him – mostly because of their strict transfer and wage policies.
The Gunners, however, actually had the opportunity to sign Mbappe when he was just about 15.
Back then, he used to play for French amateur club AS Bondy – when Arsenal’s scouting system discovered the gem he was.
A former Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi has finally opened up about how the Gunners almost signed Mbappe as a teenager and what stopped them from doing so.
He told The Sun:
“The job of scouting is about finding but also missing players. For me, it is Kylian Mbappe. We just could not convince him.
“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.”
Arsenal had an eventful 2012-13 season and a dramatic finish to it.
They won 12 out of their final 16 Premier League games to secure a top-4 finish – which was a regular thing under Arsene Wenger at that period of time.
However, the Gunners were unable to win any trophies. They got eliminated in the fifth round of the FA Cup to Blackburn Rovers in mid-February and also suffered a poor 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 clash in that same month.
Mbappe’s entourage probably could’ve been dismayed by those results, which indicated that the Gunners were still far away from being a truly ‘top side’ that can win major trophies every season.
Instead, the Frenchman opted to stay in his country and joined Monaco – whom he helped win the Ligue 1 title over PSG in the 2016-17 season before joining the major French side himself.
While Arsenal will be gutted to have missed out on a generational talent like Mbappe, this isn’t the first time that has happened.
They also infamously came close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 before Manchester United swooped in for him.
With that being said, the Gunners are doing just fine even without having any ‘best in the world’ player in their squad.
They’re blessed with amazing young players with big futures – with youth academy graduates Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah pushing their title charge and ensuring Mikel Arteta’s side can complete a dream Premier League title run to lift the trophy aloft in May.