Chelsea turned down the chance to sign Kylian Mbappe because he ‘couldn’t defend’

Chelsea once turned down the opportunity to sign Kylian Mbappe because of concerns about his defensive abilities.

The PSG superstar, 23, went on trial for the Blues as a 12-year-old. He spent a week at their Cobham training ground but was only invited back for a second trial at the end of it, rather than being offered a contract.

That infuriated Mbappe’s mum, who gave them an ultimatum via former scout Serge Daniel Boga. “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 €50million (£45m)’,” he recalled to Goal.

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Mrs Mbappe was wrong – because her son ended up moving from Monaco to PSG for £150m in 2017. He was playing for amateur club AS Bondy in the outskirts of Paris at the time of his Chelsea trial.

And it was because of his work rate off the ball that the Stamford Bridge club missed out on Mbappe’s world-class talent. Boga explained: “He was very skilful, but in England they want to see the player track back and be a hard worker.

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Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint Germain celebrates his goal during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint Germain and AS Monaco at Parc des Princes on December 12, 2021
Mbappe went on to have the last laugh after Chelsea didn’t offer him a contract

“At the time, he wasn’t a hard worker, defensively he wasn’t there yet. When he got the ball, he was unbelievable, but without the ball, he didn’t work a lot.

“Chelsea wanted to see him again to see how he could improve on this – I think that’s why they asked him back. He did skilful things and dribbled well, so maybe the things they wanted to see in the second trial was improved work on the defensive side.”

Mbappe therefore left London with just a Chelsea shirt he was gifted at the end of his trial. And Chelsea have since been left with egg on their face.


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