Kylian Mbappe has recalled how he featured for a Chelsea development team during his younger years.
Mbappe, who was linked with a move to the Premier League this summer, has joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan from fellow Ligue Un side Monaco.
The deal will become permanent for £164.8m next summer, but the 18-year-old had the chance to join Arsenal, and possibly Liverpool or Manchester City.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the France international says he has already had a taste of football in England.
Mbappe talked fondly of training with Chelsea for a week at the age of 11, playing in a game alongside Tammy Abraham and Jeremie Boga, currently both on loan at Swansea and Birmingham respectively.
“It was a wonderful experience,” he said. “Chelsea was the first great club, the first big club, that I went to visit. So it was a real discovery for me.
“I was coming from my grassroots, amateur club. It was a whole new world. Of course I had an idea what a great football club was like but I was really impressed by the working culture and the mentality of wanting to be better day-in, day-out.
“And visiting this infrastructure helped me, actually, with my development. I saw things differently because up until then I had just a French mentality and after that I could pick what was positive in other mentalities and build my own.”
Meeting Chelsea stars Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda and having his photograph taken with them reinforced in Mbappe a desire to be a professional player.
He said: “An idea has been reinforced since I was a kid – not just because I went to Chelsea. I always thought: ‘I want to be there, I want to be one of those big players who is trying to give people fun out of the game’. And I have given everything to reach that objective. Now I am on the other side of the camera, on the other side of the TV. That’s the only difference.”
But interest from Real Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Liverpool amongst others could not shake Mbappe’s determination to do things his way and he chose Monaco at the age of 15.
Having signed his first professional contract with the principality club he matured into a 26-goal striker last season as he helped Monaco land the Ligue 1 title and reach the Champions League semi-finals, leading to a call from PSG which he found too tempting to turn down.