L’Équipe detail Liverpool’s obsession with Kylian Mbappé, and how the club made two big plays for the Frenchman in recent seasons.
The 1st time was during winter in the 2015/16 campaign – at the time, Kylian Mbappé’s entourage were getting impatient about the teen’s lack of first team action and the youngster, as ambitious as ever, did not want to sign a professional deal with AS Monaco until the playing time situation was resolved.
At the time, European giants already came calling: PSG, the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.
The Merseyside club’s first contact with the player came about when Mbappé was only around 12, via Kevin Hunt. In October 2015, Jürgen Klopp succeeds Brendan Rodgers in the Liverpool dugout. Liverpool around this time recruited a new scout for France, Salim Benahcene. This individual had previously offered Mbappé to Juventus when he worked for the Italian champions, without success.
Benahcene submitted a report about Mbappé, very early on in his tenure, in which he described the French forward “as having the potential to become one of the best players in the world”.
A meeting between Liverpool representatives and the player’s team was organised for November – all that LFC would have had to do in this point was agree personal terms with the player and pay the €300k development fee.
But Jürgen Klopp arguably prevents that from happening – he tells the player’s camp that he hardly knows the player and therefore cannot make any playing time guarantees.
The Mbappé clan was also conscious about moving the player on across the English Channel too soon or to Paris and knew the risks attached with a change the environment for such a young player. AS Monaco soon swooped in and Luis Campos got the Frenchman to sign a professional deal in March 2016.
The 2nd episode of this story came in the summer of 2017. At this point, Mbappé was not a World Cup champion, but his performances in the Champions’ League raised eyebrows across the globe.
Real Madrid, Manchester City, Arsenal, Barcelona, PSG and Liverpool all renewed contact. At the beginning of the summer, Mbappé’s clan were still uncertain about Monaco’s intentions for the player and whether the attacker himself wanted to move on – but they wanted to hear all the projects proposed to them to then make the best possible decision.
Several meetings were set: with Pep Guardiola, Arsène Wenger, Unai Emery and Jürgen Klopp. This time round, the German technician was better prepared. The discussion between Mbappé & Klopp ran for several hours and the latter knew everything about the Frenchman’s style, he explained to him the style of play at Liverpool, how he wants to use him and reassures the Frenchman about the Liverpool owners’ capacity to meet Monaco’s financial requirements.
Whilst Liverpool would not be able to match the offers that PSG and Real Madrid were making, over €150m, but LFC proposed to make Mbappé the highest paid player at the club, matching Philippe Coutinho’s salary.
Faced with the charm of Klopp, the player and his entourage are incredibly interested, but the deal was not done.
Monaco sought the highest price possible, and Liverpool could not offer Mbappé the chance to play with the calibre of attacking players that Real Madrid had with the BBC or PSG incorporating the teen into the MCN.