How Mbappe's Decision Will Provide A Ripple Effect For Kane & The Rest Of Europe

Mbappe could head to Al Hilal for a world record fee
16:00, 25 Jul 2023

We’ve all seen the headlines now. £259m. The biggest transfer fee in football history could see Kylian Mbappe head to Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia, but the ripples of what happens to the Frenchman will stretch far beyond the streets of Paris. 

His move, whether it happens or not, will drastically impact several clubs and individual players across the continent. If he does depart for Al Hilal, it will be like unclogging a drain for the number nines that are all hunting a move this summer. 

Harry Kane is at the centre of his own transfer storm at the minute, but should Paris Saint-Germain be blessed with a quarter of a billion pounds, you can expect the French side to come in hot for Tottenham’s main man. Bayern Munich haven’t been able to tempt Daniel Levy into selling yet, and it seems the longer this goes on, the more likely it is that he will leave on a free next summer.  If he fires Spurs into the Champions League, rejecting all advances will have been well worth it, but an offer in the region of £100m from PSG in August would surely be impossible to refuse. 


Tottenham would then be in the market for a replacement, although they would proceed with caution given how they frittered away much of the £85m they received for Gareth Bale in 2013. Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund, a man who is currently being pursued by Manchester United, would certainly come onto their radar. The Red Devils are not willing to overpay for the Danish forward however, and the game of cat and mouse between Europe’s big clubs could continue. 

If PSG can’t tempt Harry Kane they will go for Randal Kolo Muani or Dusan Vlahovic. And Juventus, if they sell Vlahovic, will see if Romelu Lukaku wants to remain in Serie A, rather than accept an offer that is on the table from Al Hilal. As we’ve come back to the Saudi club, you can see how it only takes one domino to fall for the rest to topple down into place. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, but one world record transfer fee might. Mbappe to Al Hilal still feels a little fantastical however. There’s rumours of a one-year deal which wouldn’t serve Saudi’s long-term ambitions and would still see him join Real Madrid in 2024. Surely that’s not worth the £259m transfer fee? 


PSG feel that everything is agreed between Mbappe and Real Madrid for him to join on a free transfer in 2024. It’s always been the Frenchman’s ideal destination and, given the tiny pool of clubs that can actually compete for his signature, the likely outcome. If he stays put at PSG to wait out his contract, this has a negative effect on those strikers chasing moves. Kane, for example, may decide that his best move is to also stay put, with an eye to a potential move to Manchester United next summer. 

That would give England’s record goalscorer a chance to see United’s progression under Erik ten Hag and also continue his pursuit of Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of 260 goals. Perhaps if United know Kane is on the way next year, they hold off on spending big on Hojlund and he stays put. It would also mean Saudi Arabia’s clubs look at other longer-term options, even if they are not quite on the same scale as Mbappe. 

Saudi’s big-money signings are already having a knock-on effect on Europe’s clubs. All of a sudden, the players over the age of 30 who would usually see out their big-money contracts are worth upwards of £30m, and this cash injection is allowing them to recoup funds that would otherwise be wasted. Chelsea went bonkers last season as they spent over £500m, but this summer they’ve got Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly and N’Golo Kante off the books - all three joining clubs in the Saudi Pro League.  

Clubs in Europe should in theory have more disposable income by selling their less important players to Saudi Arabia. But this could lead to prices being driven even higher, as the biggest clubs in the world compete for the very best players. Just as with Mbappe’s situation, there are only a handful of clubs that can afford to spend over £70m on one player, and that makes moves between those clubs increasingly difficult.

For now, we have a traffic jam of transfers waiting to be unclogged. Mbappe sits at the front of it, and if he refuses to move until next summer, there could be some very frustrated forwards stuck at their current clubs for another 12 months. 

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