PSG wins the battle for Mbappe, but the war with Real Madrid looms on the horizon
This is how someone who has been directly involved in the transfer talks of Kylian Mbappé has summed up the situation around the player for AS. For Real Madrid the operation to bring in the French star has been a long-distance race, with the finish line now set for 1 January 2022 (it’s been in the planning for two years), for Paris Saint-Germain it is now the start of a sprint, one that will last just four months.
Mbappé: four key months in Paris
Optimism in the north of the Spanish capital is founded on the ample evidence Mbappé has shown that he is determined in his intention to play for the club. This was shown most recently with yet another refusal to sign an extension from the Qatari backed Parisiens, an offer that would have seen him earn 45 million euros net per season, and making him the highest paid player on the planet.
It was some statement, and Mbappé has valued Madrid’s actions over the months as they have pushed to make the move become a reality sooner with huge transfer fees considering the contract edging into its final year. Putting a reported 200 million on the table before the transfer market closed must have been hard to turn down by the Ligue 1 giants but, much like the player they are desperate to keep, sticking to their guns is worth more.
But when it comes to PSG, that optimism should be tempered. They are going to use all the weapons at their disposal to renew their star’s contract and keep the attacking trident – one that still seems somewhat surreal – of Mbappé, Neymar and Messi. Both sporting and financial tools will be used as Ligue 1 seem to be turning a blind eye to the Financial Fair Play rules.
In all honesty, throwing more money at the player doesn’t seem to be a tactic that is going to work, given the riches that are already upon him and almost certainly guaranteed in his future. On the pitch, and in the trophy cabinet, is where PSG’s best bet lies. But the clock is ticking and the dream of playing for Los Blancos is a strong one…
When the clock struck midnight to signal the end of the transfer window in Spain, Kylian Mbappe remained a Paris Saint-Germain player much to the consternation of Real Madrid.
Amid Lionel Messi’s tears as he departed Barcelona, and the exultation of Cristiano Ronaldo as he moved back to Manchester United after more than a decade away, Mbappe was the story that gripped over the course of the summer, running until time finally ran out on the side from the Spanish capital.
Of course, the expectation was that PSG would buckle. Spanish television show El Chiringuito even had a countdown clock plastered with Mbappe’s image, with the seconds ticking down to what they felt was his inevitable arrival.
PSG have regularly flexed the financial strength of owners QSI over the 10 years since they were taken over by the Qatari group, yet never has that been more evident than over the past few days.
While signing Neymar for €222 million (£190m/$262m) marked a new age for football transfers, rejecting a €200m (£172m/$236m) offer for a player out of contract in 10 months is an even more remarkable feat, though unlikely to be one remembered as long.
By the end of the window, PSG were not even responding to Madrid’s approaches, echoing Tottenham’s belligerent approach to Manchester City’s short-lived pursuit of Harry Kane. But while Spurs have a lengthy contract to protect their interests, the Parisian side are aware that time is their enemy.
Indeed, this arm wrestle was ultimately futile. Mbappe will wind up at Real Madrid eventually – and there’s a fair chance that they will sign him for nothing at the end of the season, assuming their finances stay in reasonable order.
PSG, though, have highlighted their pugnacity in the transfer market. These are confrontations that they do not back down from – for a matter of pride if nothing else.
Money, as so often has been amply demonstrated both this summer and in the past, is little object to the Parc des Princes side, perhaps this season more than ever.
The 2022 World Cup holds much significance for QSI and Qatar. As the tiny Arab state prepares to host Earth’s greatest sporting occasion, it desperately wants to own the greatest club in the world. In order to stake this claim, it needs PSG to win the Champions League this season.
Mbappe, of course, is central to this plan and, as has been shown, no amount of money was likely to prise him from a PSG side disgruntled with an attitude from Real Madrid that they deigned disrespectful.
Asked to react to Real Madrid’s behaviour in their chase for Mbappe, PSG sporting director Leonardo launched into a rant on RMC.
“It’s incorrect, illegal even because they contacted the player,” he complained. “It’s unacceptable to us because it is not correct.
“This offer is the very proof of their strategy: it has arrived one year from the end of his contract and seven days before the end of the transfer window.
“They want us to refuse to show Kylian that they’ve tried everything and will start negotiating for next year.”
PSG’s stance is that Madrid failed to meet their asking price at a suitable moment, though it remains to be seen how Mbappe will react to such posturing.
The early suggestions are not positive from a Parisian standpoint. On the player’s Instagram stories on Deadline Day, a post from a relative briefly flashed up before being quickly deleted.
“Respect, my brother, for your professionalism. Reprogramme your dreams, it will be any time now. Life is beautiful. You are the best,” the mysterious message read.
On the field, Mbappe has shown few signs of unhappiness. Indeed, he has put together his most consistent string of performances for months, doing his best to overshadow Lionel Messi on his debut when he scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Reims.
He has been smiling, bubbly and impressive. Away from the field, meanwhile, PSG are preparing another astronomical contract offer for Mbappe, which Le Parisien believes will make him the best-paid player in the world.
The French side, though, know that they have simply won a skirmish in the fight for Mbappe’s future. A far greater challenge will arise in January when he is able to open talks with rival clubs – and not just Real Madrid either, for teams in the Premier League will surely try to tempt him.
The transfer window is over, but the clock is still ticking on Mbappe’s future.
- Ligue 1: 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20
- Coupe de France: 2017–18, 2019–20, 2020–21; runner-up: 2018–19
- Coupe de la Ligue: 2017–18, 2019–20
- Trophée des Champions: 2019, 2020
- UEFA Champions League runner-up: 2019–20
- UEFA European Under-19 Championship Team of the Tournament: 2016
- UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year: 2018–19, 2020–21
- UNFP Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year: 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19
- UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2020–21
- UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Month: April 2017, March 2018, August 2018, February 2019, February 2021
- UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2016–17, 2019–20, 2020–21
- FIFA FIFPro World11: 2018, 2019
- FIFA FIFPro World11 3rd team: 2017
- FIFA FIFPro World11 nominee: 2020 (5th forward)
- Golden Boy: 2017
- Ballon d’Or: 2017 (7th place), 2018 (4th place), 2019 (6th place)
- The Best FIFA Men’s Player: 2018 (4th place), 2019 (6th place)
- UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award: 2017 (8th place), 2018 (6th place) 2020 (7th place)
- FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award: 2018
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2018
- Kopa Trophy: 2018
- IFFHS Men’s World Team: 2018
- French Player of the Year: 2018, 2019
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2018
- Ligue 1 Top Goalscorer: 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21
- Onze de Bronze: 2019
Mbappé with Paris Saint-Germain in 2019
|Full name||Kylian Mbappé Lottin|
|Date of birth||20 December 1998|
|Place of birth||Paris, France|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|2017–2018||→ Paris Saint-Germain (loan)||27||(13)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 August 2021
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 1 September 2021
Mbappé began his senior career with Ligue 1 club Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015, aged 16. With them, he won a Ligue 1 title, Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year, and the Golden Boy award. In 2017, he signed for league rivals Paris Saint-Germain on an initial loan, which was made permanent in 2018 in a transfer worth €180 million plus add ons, making him both the second-most expensive player and most expensive teenager. There, Mbappé has won three Ligue 1 titles, three Coupe de France titles, was named Ligue 1 Player of the Year twice, and has finished as Ligue 1 top scorer for three consecutive seasons. He is also the third-highest goalscorer in the club’s history.
At international level, Mbappé made his senior debut for France in 2017, at age 18. At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Mbappé became the youngest French player to score at a World Cup, and became the second teenager, after Pelé, to score in a World Cup Final. He finished as the joint second-highest goalscorer as France won the tournament, and he received the Best Young Player and French Player of the Year awards for his performances.
#31 Kylian Mbappe
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- The Frenchman is on full contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2022, making over $20 million annually plus performance bonuses.
- The star forward is Ligue 1’s reigning player of the year and has won the award twice. He’s been the league’s top goal scorer three season in a row.
- In 2020, EA Sports announced him for the cover of “FIFA 21,” making him one of the youngest ever to grace that brand’s cover solo.
- In 2018, at age 19, Mbappé became the second-youngest (after Pelé) to score in a World Cup final.
- At 22 years old, Mbappe has amassed 37 more goals for club and country than Lionel Messi had at the same age, and 99 more than Cristiano Ronaldo.