'I was at his home' - How close Arsenal came to signing Kylian Mbappe amid new club wait

PSG striker Kylian Mbappe

Arsene Wenger made a trip to the family home of Kylian Mbappe in a bid to bring the elite French youngster aboard the Arsenal ship. The iconic manager saw the potential in his fellow countryman, Mbappe, who had just earned a spot at Clairefontaine, France's prestigious footballing alma mater that produced such Gunners legends as Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka.

Acknowledging the player was within his grasp, Wenger set out on a mission to persuade him to move to England, leading him back to his roots to engage in a personal audience with Mbappe's parents, Fayza and Wilfred, in 2013. Reflecting on this memorable encounter shown during the recent BBC documentary titled 'Mbappe', Wenger fondly remembered his efforts for Arsenal.

"You know at one point I tried to convince him to come to Arsenal," he admitted. "I was at his home with his parents. He was a happy boy. He just wanted to play football and had the passion for the game."

Despite Wenger's ardent courtship, French football correspondent Julien Laurens explained why the European titans stood barren against Mbappes decision to bloom on home soil, reports the Mirror. "Sending Kylian to develop his game outside of France was never part of the plan," he said. "Clubs from all over Europe would say ‘come to us.'

"It was never about the prestige of the club, because he could have gone to Real Madrid, to Chelsea, to Arsenal, to Manchester United. It was always about good academy, good coaches, and in the end he chose Monaco."

Wenger's pursuit of the future World Cup winner didn't end there, as he reignited his interest in the Monaco star three years later in 2016. Despite his efforts, the player signed his first professional contract with Monaco, a move that former Arsenal star and scout Gilles Grimandi described as "the biggest disappointment" of his 15-year career.

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Grimandi shared his experience with Ladbrokes Fanzone: "We met his parents in London who came to the training ground and alongside Arsene and Richard Law [then transfer chief] we travelled to meet Kylian in the South of France.

"We tried, and I really don't think we were far from getting him, but he declined the project and signed a new deal with Monaco. I'd say it is probably the biggest disappointment in my 15 years as an Arsenal scout, not convincing Kylian Mbappe to sign for the club."

The Gunners have once again been linked with Mbappe, who recently announced his departure from PSG this summer. However, he seems set to join Real Madrid, another long-term admirer, as a free agent.