The most coveted and expensive teenager in world football and 2nd most expensive player ever, Kylian Mbappe reveals he could have joined Arsenal during the transfer window.
In an interview with Jason Butt, Telegraph Chief Football correspondence, during his unveiling at the Parc des Princes, Mbappe gave a non-verbal insight into the competition among the top European clubs desperate to sign him.
When asked how many top European clubs tried to sign him, he replies “no comment- I will play the Joker on that one!” ” with a broad smile. Supposedly a jovial and humble way of confirming what was known all through, that they all did.
What was more interesting though was the confirmation that Arsenal was also in the running for his signature.
“Yes, I met with Arsene Wenger, who is a great coach,” Mbappe says. “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. But, of course, Paris Saint-Germain was the main option” Kylian Mbappe
Crucially, Mbappe also mentioned that the reason he chose PSG, apart from the fact that it was a return to home for him, as he started his youth career in the French capital with AS Bondy but because PSG offered the dual opportunity to continue his development as well as winning trophies simultaneously.
This is a barb against Wenger, as Mbappe is effectively saying, while he may develop at Arsenal, he is not likely to be winning trophies.
Arsenal or Wenger are not known for pursuing “expensive players” for many reasons, one of which is that it is totally against Wenger’s philosophy. Wenger is an advocate of buying low selling high, a stringent economic approach to football management even though in some instances, this approach has narrowed his view to focusing only on the price tag and disregarding all other factors, a kind of “knowing the price of everything and oblivious of their value”.
During the transfer window, when it was reported by many media houses that Arsenal was in the running for Mbappe’s signature, many disregards this as either fake news or publicity stunt. Not least because the price tag on Mbappe from day one of the transfer window has been very high and also because Wenger is not reputable to compete in the transfer market against the names of other clubs been mentioned in the race to sign him, thus it was a doomed adventure from the get go.
Arsenal’s transfer policies have been criticised by many, including from within the club and among ex-players, the current squad visibly lacking in-depth and question over their ability to really compete for the league title has been raised following a shambolic start to the season, narrowly earning 3 points against Leicester and going down to a four nil thrashing in the hand of Liverpool.
Arsenal brought two players in, loaned nine out and sold ten, making a net profit.
While Kylian Mbappe mentioned Arsene Wenger as a factor that would have seen him move to Arsenal because of his reputation for developing players, the transfer window, however, also reveals that Wenger might be a factor in players not wanting to come to Arsenal. Thomas Lemar turned down Wenger’s advances despite meeting his price tag of £92m.
Arsenal will be hoping to put their season back on track against Bournemouth, victory this weekend may calm nerves and redirect attention to football and away from the ongoing negativity at the club.