Kylian Mbappe turned down the chance to sign for Arsenal to link up with Paris Saint-Germain, the teenage striker has revealed.
Mbappe was a top target for the Gunners, who failed to qualify for the Champions League after finishing fifth in the Premier League last season.
But the forward, who fired Monaco to the Ligue 1 title, said a switch to Emirates Stadium was never on the cards as he preferred to stay in France, moving to PSG on an initial season-long loan.
“Yes, I met with Arsene Wenger, who is a great coach,” Mbappe said. “He has a great reputation here in France, he’s well-respected and knows how to develop young players.
“This was a real option for me. But, of course, Paris Saint-Germain was the main option. We weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of all the clubs but my family told me it had to be my decision and one I needed to make.
“It also had to be a long-term decision. So it was up to me and I decided to come here in order to develop.”
Mbappe has some experience of English football from earlier in his career, having had a trial at Chelsea well before turning professional, when he met fellow Francophone players Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda.
“It was a wonderful experience. Chelsea was the first great club, the first big club, that I went to visit. So it was a real discovery for me,” Mbappe said. “I was coming from my grass roots, amateur club. It was a whole new world.
“Of course I had an idea what a great football club was like but I was really impressed by the working culture and the mentality of wanting to be better day-in, day-out and visiting this infrastructure helped me, actually, with my development.
“I saw things differently because up until then I had just a French mentality and after that I could pick what was positive in other mentalities and build my own.
“I got to meet some of the first-team players – Drogba, Malouda – the French-speaking ones and took some pictures with them.
“An idea has been reinforced since I was a kid – not just because I went to Chelsea. I always thought: ‘I want to be there, I want to be one of those big players who is trying to give people fun out of the game.'”