Arsene Wenger came close to signing a number of superstars during his time at Arsenal, and Kylian Mbappe was one of them.

The legendary Frenchman’s eye for talent was simply sensational. He brought several unknown names to North London and turned them into superstars, but he missed out on a few as well.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of them, but Mbappe too was on Wenger’s radar. Sadly, the French forward did not want to join the Gunners.

Arsenal Kylian Mbappe
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Kylian Mbappe rejected a move to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal

Gilles Grimandi, the Frenchman who played over 150 games for Arsenal, spent close to 14 years as a scout at our club.

The now-52-year-old helped the Gunners unearth several hugely talented French youngsters, and he, along with Arsene Wenger, had an eye on Kylian Mbappe almost a decade ago.

Grimandi revealed in an interview with The Sun that he met Mbappe a few months before his contract expired back in 2013 and tried to sign him for Arsenal. The forward, however, decided against it because the Gunners ‘were not always playing at their best.’

“The job of scouting is about finding but also missing players,” Grimandi said. For me, it is Kylian Mbappe. We just could not convince him.

“He was out of contract in June 2013 and we met him in February. If we could have convinced him to join, he would have changed the club — but he then decided on Monaco. Arsenal were not always playing at their best so it was quite complicated.

“At first it was easy, as soon as we talked to a player he wanted to sign it. However, if you are not getting results it is difficult to bring top players to help the team.”

Other superstars Arsene Wenger missed out on

We’ve already spoken about Messi and Ronaldo, and now we know why Mbappe didn’t fancy a move to the Emirates, but there are plenty more on the list.

FourFourTwo made a list of 15 big-name players who came close to a move to Wenger’s Arsenal, but for one reason or another, a deal could not be completed.

The list includes superstars like Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, Juventus’ Paul Pogba, AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and even Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho. Retired footballers like Yaya Toure, Claude Makelele, Gareth Bale and Didier Drogba also feature on the list.

Imagine what Wenger could’ve done at Arsenal if he had managed to sign all of the above players!

Arsenal Kylian Mbappe
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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