Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly failed to land 2018 FIFA World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe before he had even kicked a ball in senior club football.
According to a report by Daily Star, who cite a book by Luca Caioli and Cyrill Gollot, Arsenal and Chelsea were interested in signing Kylian Mbappe much before his first-team debut for AS Monaco. In the end, however, the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner turned down the opportunity to move to England.
Mbappe has the world at his feet despite being all of 19 and having just two seasons of senior football under his belt. The player has already lifted five trophies in club and international football, the pinnacle of which was winning the FIFA World Cup this past summer.
A pivotal figure for both PSG and France now, Mbappe has been a hot property in the transfer market for a while now. In fact, the who’s who of European football were after him, including Premier League heavyweights Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, before he ended up joining PSG in the summer of 2017, albeit on an initial loan deal.
This past summer, there were initial doubts as to whether PSG would be able to land him on a permanent deal, owing to Financial Fair Play restrictions. Eventually, the French champions managed to snap Mbappe up, but the teenage prodigy could well have been playing in the Premier League, for either Chelsea or Arsenal.
In a book titled “Mbappe” by Luca Caioli and Cyrill Gollot, the authors recall how the World Cup winner spent a week at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground in 2011. The duo also add that Arsene Wenger even visited Mbappe’s parents in Paris to convince them to let him join Arsenal in 2015.
“[Mbappe’s time at Chelsea was] a unique experience that would allow the little prodigy a new mentality in the team then managed by Carlo Ancelotti, to meet Drogba and especially to pull on a Chelsea shirt in a friendly won 7-0 against Charlton’s Under-12s.”
“But Chelsea did not win the jackpot. The Mbappe clan did not follow up. Arsene Wenger even travelled to the Paris region to try to convince the Mbappe family [to join Arsenal].”
Judging by the way Mbappe has developed since his trial with Chelsea, a player like him would not just be welcome at Stamford Bridge, but could even transform them into genuine Premier League title contenders and more.
The same goes for Arsenal, who do not have a single natural winger in their first-team squad. Adding the French World Cup winner would compliment the abilities of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang perfectly, and put the Gunners in a much better position than they currently find themselves in.
But, one can also argue that Mbappe might not even have progressed as well, had Arsenal or Chelsea landed him when they were interested. For Chelsea, in particular, the so-called curse of the academy graduates and their loaning system, could have resulted in Mbappe never even establishing himself in the first-team setup.
One thing is certain, though. At his current level, Mbappe would be a solid solution for both Arsenal and Chelsea, who could be fretting not being able to land him when they were interested.