Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed he was close to signing Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe last summer and tried to sign N’Golo Kante.
Wenger has admitted to keeping a close eye on the 18-year-old and knows the player “very well” but at Friday morning’s press conference he admitted he came very close to landing the player last season.
“He’s a huge talent,” said Wenger.
“It was at stake last season but he decided to stay at Monaco.”
Mbappe, who broke Thierry Henry’s record to become the youngest-ever goalscorer for Monaco, has continued his impressive start to his career with six goals and seven assists so far this season.
Wenger also revealed his appreciation of Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante, who signed for Chelsea from Leicester for £32million last summer, and admitted trying to sign the player twice.
The Gunners boss said he wanted to bring the player the club while Kante, who played for Boulogne and Caen, was in France.
Asked why it didn’t it happen, Wenger said: “I cannot explain everything but it is obvious when you look at where he has gone. Transfers is transfers and you cannot explain absolutely everything.
“I believe Kante has had a huge impact (at Chelsea).
“It’s no coincidence Chelsea are where they are and Leicester did what they did last season.”
It is not the first time Wenger has spoken about Kante – having revealed last year ahead of a game against Leicester that he had been made aware of his talent some years before.
“Of course I know him,” he said last February.
“You look at his career and you will be amazed. Because he played in Suresnes in Paris at the age of nine, 10 years old. After he went to Boulogne as an amateur. They didn’t want to sign him pro.
“After, he went to Caen, and then he came finally to England. But everywhere he has been, he has always adapted to the level where he was.
“One of my best friends in life knows him since he was 10 years old, and he spoke to me about him. We went to watch him and we saw he had quality. But I didn’t know he would come so quickly to England.”