Ex-Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi has revealed how close the Gunners came signing Paris-Saint Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe as a teenager.
Mbappe, one of the best players in the world, moved to PSG from fellow Ligue 1 side Monaco in a €180m move in 2018.
The 24-year-old forward has registered a whopping 196 goals and 94 assists across 243 games since arriving in Paris and has helped them win four league titles.
Mbappe has also scored 36 times in 66 caps for France and helped his country win the 2018 World Cup, while he won the Golden Boot four years later as they finished as runners-up to Argentina in Qatar, despite his hat-trick in the final.
He started his career in the youth team of French club AS Bondy before moving to Monaco’s academy in 2013, but he could have ended up at the Emirates before making that switch, according to former Gunners scout Grimandi.
‘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.
‘That’s why it is important to stay at the top for as long as possible. It is so much easier.
‘Yet the likes of Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, who I watched develop, prove you should never forget the talent you have inside your club, even in difficult times.’