Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has down the years scouted most of the best stars in European football. He has not signed many of them, but was highly aware of all them and came close to signing them.
The way Wenger talks sometimes it sounds like he has known the players since they were babies. For once, though, a star has claimed that Arsenal were a ‘real option for me’. That young star is France wonderkid Kylian Mbappe.
The 18-year-old joined big spending French giants PSG on deadline day on loan. He will be making a reported £165million move to the French capital next summer. However, it seems Mbappe did consider Arsenal as a viable option.
However, this seems to be a familiar story for Arsenal. Arsenal are linked with players, but fail to sign them. A rival team signs them and they become a star or continue to be a star at another club. A good example of this is France and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.
Arsenal were linked with the then-Leicester star, but Chelsea bought the Frenchman. The diminutive star went on to enjoy a good season for the Blues and helped them to the Premier League title. The player that Arsenal signed as an alternative for more money, Grant Xhaka went on to have a so-s0 season and the Gunners finished fifth in the Premier League.
It is usually Arsene Wenger saying that he has scouted the players for years and knew them as youngsters, blah, and blah, blah. This scenario is not limited to just players from his homeland. However, I do believe Wenger claimed that he was highly aware of Lionel Messi from a young age.
Gone are the days when Wenger spotted young talent from elsewhere, like Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira and moulded them into superstars.
Arsenal have had the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin come from the academy after arriving at the club at a young age. However, Fabregas left to win trophies, while his compatriot struggled for form last season.
It may not be Wenger’s fault for his failures in the transfer market. The Gunners are no longer the draw they used to be, which will hurt Arsenal fans. One man responsible for that is Wenger.
The Frenchman cannot go blameless for Arsenal’s decline in recent years. Maybe if he had signed half of the players he scouted at a young age the club from north London would have been more successful in recent years.
Was Arsenal really an option for Kylian Mbappe?