They may not have been the only competition for Arsenal in the transfer hunt for Kylian Mbappe, but the Champions League and La Liga title holders Real Madrid were thought to be far and away the biggest obstacle to Arsene Wenger getting his man.
In fact the Spanish giants were reportedly hot favourites with online-betting.org to sign the young France international star and Mbappe himself is apparently keen to sign for what many see as the biggest football club in the world. Thankfully for us the Monaco striker was also concerned about a move to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer being a real detriment to his development as a player because he might not get the regular game time that has helped him develop so far.
That fear has now been confirmed by the Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, as reported by Metro, so in essence the club has left the way clear for another club to carry on the transfer pursuit and that club may well be Arsenal.
Perez said, ‘I like him but we can only play 11, the squad is 24 and there are many players that I have liked and, because they have not had a place, they have not come.
‘He [Mbappe] is a good player, very young. We did not sign Pogba because we had a great team, as demonstrated. We did not need Pogba.
‘In addition, the players have to play to become better and I last year did not see it [playing time] with him. Anyway, the summer is very long, I have signed more than one player on the 31 of August. Some really good ones.’
‘I know [Zidane] has watched him for several years, because I know he has followed him as he followed [Raphael] Varane.
‘The best one to say if you have a place or not at 18 is the coach, but with that age few players have a place in Madrid. Zidane came at 28, We have to be patient. Zidane has time with Mbappe in mind. Sincerely I don’t know. He has to decide if he’s coming to play, if he better continue where he is and continue developing.
‘If Zidane gave me the OK, I would have to say that he would come. They can’t all play, only 11. That job is not mine, but Zidane’s, who manages it very well.’
Apparently the Gunners were the next choice for Mbappe because of Wenger’s reputation for developing strikers and because he would certainly play a lot, so have Real Madrid just set this huge summer transfer ball rolling?