Chelsea may just be regretting the decision not to sign wonderkid Kylian Mbappe when they had the chance.
Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain starlet, World Cup winner, Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year twice in a row and the man who haunts former Chelsea count Serge Daniel Boga’s dreams.
Kylian Mbappe – Chelsea, 2012
Boga, a scout for the Blues until 2014, admitted that the club had a chance to sign the forward in 2012 after inviting him to Cobham training centre, where he immediately impressed. Chelsea, obviously keen on bringing the Mbappe on board, offered a second trail much to the displeasure of the player’s mother.
Speaking to Goal Boga said: “Chelsea were the first ones to give him a trial. We did it before Real Madrid. I had a friend who worked for Nike, Denis Chantron, and when I was in France, we met, and he said ‘Have you heard of this young boy called Mbappe? He plays for Bondy, this small club from the suburbs of Paris.’
“I said I hadn’t, and he said ‘You have to watch him.’ I went there and watched him, and I called him back straight away and I said ‘Listen, this boy is really something.’
“I told Chelsea about him and let them do their thing. I called everyone at Chelsea whom I dealt with, like Jim Fraser. I said ‘Listen, I have this kid you have to look at.
“After a week at Chelsea, we went into the office. We said ‘Listen, we appreciate what we saw from you, but we have to invite you back for another trial and we’ll see after that.
“I remember what the mother said to this day. She spoke in French to Fraser and I was translating. She said to me, ‘Listen, my boy won’t be coming back. If they want him, they have to take him now or in five years’ time they will be coming back to buy him for €50 million!’”
As we well know, it wasn’t a paltry €50 million but €180 million (roughly £153m) that secured Mbappe’s signature for Paris Saint-Germain (as per ESPN). A small price to pay for the player he is today.
Boga mentions that one of the fundamental reasons Chelsea didn’t opt to sign him immediately is that his defensive work needed improving, and though it is obvious now that this was a sacrifice worth making, and his mother was justified in her arrogance, at the time the club couldn’t break rank simply because a parent said their child was going to become a star.