Kylian Mbappe has revealed he was close to joining Arsenal before his £163m transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 and has nothing but praise for Arsene Wenger's reaction to his decision to reject the Gunners.
The French World Cup winner, and recent recipient of the inaugural Kopa Trophy, an award for the best under-21 player in the world, was in contact with Wenger about a potential move to London.
The former Monaco star instead chose the French champions but said Wenger acted like a ‘gentleman’ when he decided to reject Arsenal.
“A little while ago, before I signed for PSG, we were in contact in 2017. I chose a different direction but he wasn’t annoyed at me,” Mbappe told France Football. “He was a gentleman about it and wished me good luck
“He is a real French football monument who has left Arsenal. I have not seen many people in this world being viewed in such a unanimous way,” he added of the former Arsenal manager, who called time on his tenure at the Gunners in the summer after a 21-year spell in charge.
“When the entirety of Europe gets on its knees in front of him to celebrate him, that certainly means something.”
The 18-year-old also wished well to the new Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, who he briefly worked with at PSG. Together they won Ligue 1 in 2017-18 and Mbappe, who holds Emery in high regard, revealed he is paying attention to the Spaniard’s spell at Arsenal.
“I have a lot of respect for this man even if he did not succeed in Paris. He won titles before and I hope he wins them again after. I sent him a congratulatory message when he signed for Arsenal, and now I am following from afar,” the teenager said.
“I do not forget that he helped me adapt to this big team, which was not easy.”