Arsenal’s £87million bid for Kylian Mbappe has been rejected by Monaco, according to media reports.
The Gunners are keen to make a marquee signing early in the transfer window as a statement of intent that shows they are ready to challenge for the Premier League title under manager Arsene Wenger, who signed a two-year contract extension on Wednesday.
News of Arsenal’s bid emerged in France late on Thursday and Standard Sport understands the offer was turned down on Friday morning by Monaco, who are desperate to keep the 18-year-old at the club for at least another year.
The French champions rejected a £105m bid from Real Madrid last month and although Arsenal have come in at a lower price, it is understood their package contained more money up front with fewer add-ons and performance-related payments.
Arsenal have yet to decide whether to return with an improved offer but the mere fact the club are prepared to countenance transfers at this level is an indication of a step-change in their thinking.
Wenger revealed in May that he almost signed Mbappe last summer before the winger signed a new deal to stay at Monaco.
“The player would tell you that I was at his home last year to try to get him,” said the 67-year-old.
“He was at the end of his contract but Monaco managed to keep him and the decision was very, very tight. But I could understand it as well because he was educated there and at the end decided to stay there.”
Arsenal face competition from most of Europe’s top clubs with Real, Manchester United, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain all holding a genuine interest.
The Gunners have already proved they can rival leading clubs in wage demands having offered Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil £300,000-a-week and in excess of £250,000-a-week respectively.
Wenger is hopeful that a knock-on effect of landing Mbappe would be to convince Sanchez and Ozil that their futures lie at Arsenal. Both players will take the club’s transfer strategy into account before making their decisions with just a year left on their existing agreements.
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