Arsenal’s failed attempt to sign Kylian Mbappe in 2013 has been revealed by a former member of the club’s scouting team.
Gilles Grimandi is best known for a five-year stint as an Arsenal player between 1997 and 2002, where he was part of an Arsenal side that won two Premier League titles under Arsene Wenger.
But Grimandi also worked for the Gunners as a France-based scout between 2006 and 2019, before a short stint as technical director at OGC Nice.
His role was to scout for promising talent in his native country and relay the information to the Arsenal hierarchy to decide whether to move or not.
Speaking about his experiences, Grimandi revealed in an interview with The Sun that the task of signing high caliber youngsters became increasingly difficult as Arsenal’s level of performance began to drop, and noted that Mbappe was a great example of a player who got away.
“The job of scouting is to find but also to miss players. For me, it’s Kylian Mbappe. We just couldn’t convince him,” Grimandi said.
“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 clubs – but then he opted for Monaco.
“Arsenal didn’t always play at their best, so it was quite complicated. At first it was easy, as soon as we spoke to a player, he wanted to sign him.
“However, if you don’t get results, it’s difficult to get the best players to help the team. That’s why it’s important to stay at the top for as long as possible. It’s so much easier.”
Mbappe’s career exploded after breaking into the Monaco first team aged just 16 years and 347 days – breaking Thierry Henry’s 21-year-old record as the club’s youngest player.
He quickly rose to the top of the game after winning Ligue 1 in 2017, joining PSG in August of that year in a deal worth up to €180million – the second-highest transfer dear all the time.