Arteta: Arsenal should target players like Mbappé

Arteta: Arsenal should target players like Mbappé

Arteta: Arsenal have to be in the conversation to sign players like Mbappe (0:44)

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal should be able to attract the world’s best players including Kylian Mbappe. (0:44)

  • James Olley, Senior Writer, ESPN FCFeb 16, 2024, 06:00 AM ET

Mikel Arteta has said he believes Arsenal should be targeting the world’s best players including Kylian Mbappé, but admitted the France international appears destined to join Real Madrid.

ESPN reported Thursday that Mbappé has informed Paris Saint-Germain of his intention to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season, with sources saying Madrid are expecting to sign the forward, who is one off the most coveted stars in the sport.

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However, the Arsenal boss was asked on Friday whether he had any interest in Mbappé, and he said: “When there is a player of that calibre we always have to be in the conversation. But as you said it looks in a different way [that Mbappé is joining Madrid].”

Pushed to elaborate on whether Arsenal were “in the conversation” to sign Mbappé, Arteta replied: “I am not! Maybe Edu [the technical director] and the owners are, but I am not in those conversations until the last stage.

“Why not? If we want to be the best team, we are going to need the best talent and the best players, that is for sure.”

Arsenal found themselves constrained by Financial Fair Play rules in January after spending over £200 million ($251m) last summer, and although a move for Mbappé would not require a transfer fee, any deal would shatter the club’s current wage structure with the forward believed to earn north of €650,000 per week ($700,000).

Arsenal’s highest earner is thought to be Bukayo Saka on around £300,000-a-week including bonuses.

Discussing how attractive Arsenal are to elite players, Arteta added: “The club we are, I don’t think that has ever been an issue. Everybody wants to play for Arsenal. At least the players we have held discussions with, they always have that smile on their face the moment you open the door and start to have that discussion.

“That is because of our history and everything we have done in the past as well.”

Arsenal attempted to tempt Mbappé into a move to north London previously when Arsene Wenger was manager.

Wenger subsequently revealed he met with Mbappé when the then-teenager was unsure whether to extend his contract with AS Monaco in 2016 and Arsenal had a €100m bid rejected in 2017, a year before he then joined PSG.

After joining PSG, Mbappé confirmed in an interview with the Telegraph: “Yes, I met with Arsene Wenger, who is a great coach. 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.”

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