Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has underlined how serious the club are about signing much-coveted Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe by holding face-to-face talks with the France international. The 18-year-old is the hottest property in world football after a stunning campaign last term and appears destined to leave the principality this summer.
The Daily Mail reported in June that the Gunners had been quoted £130m to sign Mbappe. The deal would be the biggest in transfer history and require the 13-time FA Cup winners to lay out more than double what they paid for their own record signing Alexandre Lacazette.
Such a massive valuation means that Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are considered to be the main contenders to sign the Frenchman, who scored 16 goals as Monaco scooped the Ligue 1 title last season. Wenger has confirmed his interest in acquiring Mbappe but given the hefty price tag required to sign him the declaration could be perceived as an empty gesture.
But France Football understand that last month Wenger held direct talks with Mbappe and his family in an attempt to convince him to move to Arsenal. The publication states the three-hour meeting held on 14 June, which is expected to have included his father Wilfried Mbappe, outlined the club's future plans and how the forward would fit in their philosophy.
The conversation also included reference to Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer and former captain Thierry Henry, who Mbappe has regularly been compared to. Wenger believes Mbappe can be the heir to the throne of Henry, who is regarded as one of the club's greatest ever players.
It remains to be seen which club Mbappe chooses but Arsenal's failure to qualify for the Champions League could yet be pivotal in his decision. The club have nevertheless brought Lacazette to the club while a deal to sign Mbappe's Monaco teammate Thomas Lemar also appears to be in the offing.
Real and PSG have also held meetings with Mbappe and his family in an attempt to bring him to the Spanish and French capitals. Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane and president Florentino Perez were part of the 12-time European champions' entourage who spoke with the teenager, while a trio of representatives from PSG including chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi were among those hoping to convince Mbappe to remain in France.