Kylian Mbappe opted to join Paris Saint-Germain over Arsenal in 2017, with the French media reporting that the Champions League played a significant role.
L’Equipe (via GFFN) report that Kylian Mbappe barely considered a move to Arsenal in 2017 before joining Paris Saint-Germain, because the Gunners hadn’t qualified for the Champions League.
It was the first time in many years that Arsenal had failed to make it into Europe’s top-tier competition, and it wasn’t even a particularly poor campaign for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Having finished second in 2015/16 with 71 points, Arsenal improved their points tally to 75 in 2016/17… and finished fifth.
Liverpool were just one point ahead of the Gunners, and Manchester City two points ahead of that, but it was enough to drop Arsenal down into the Europa League.
Wenger lifted the FA Cup for the seventh and final time, and less than a year later he ended his managerial tenure in north London.
It’s hard to say whether things might have been different if Arsenal had earned the extra couple of points they needed to get into the Champions League.
Ultimately, Mbappe is a Parisian and a French international, and PSG are easily the dominant force in modern-day French football. Arsenal were a tough sell either way.
Though it clearly didn’t help that the Gunners didn’t have Champions League football to offer.
Mbappe had largely made his name in Monaco’s Champions League run to the semi-finals, and dropping back to a Europa League team wouldn’t have been much of an upgrade on just staying where he was.
It’s undoubtedly a source of frustration to Mbappe that he’s still yet to actually win the Champions League with PSG, finishing as runners-up in their best campaign in 2019/20.
But Arsenal will now be looking to help to keep that run of failures going as they push to finally return to the competition next season.