PSG Reconciliation, Real Madrid or Al-Hilal: What Next For Kylian Mbappe?

The best player on the planet is a player without a home
10:00, 24 Jul 2023

It is a position Kylian Mbappe never expected to find himself in. Could it really be possible that arguably the best footballer on the planet has nowhere to go? 

Paris Saint-Germain certainly don’t want him, at least in his present form. With his contract due to expire next summer, the Ligue 1 champions either want the assurance of an extension or the bountiful riches of a transfer.


Real Madrid, his long-rumoured destination, might not want him either. At least not yet. Much of this current impasse is built around the fact PSG believe the player has an agreement to move to the Bernabeu for free next summer. This has left a toxic situation to unfold, one which would have once seemed unthinkable. Kylian Mbappe, for all his incredible talents, is unwanted.

PSG have made that much clear by omitting him from their squad for the pre-season tour of Japan. Instead, Mbappe has been instructed to stay in Paris and train with players the club is looking to move on. This is no half-hearted step considering the commercial importance of Mbappe being in Japan. The France international was front and centre of the original posters for the tour. Now new branding moves Neymar into the primary position, with Mbappe missing entirely.

There are a few ways this cold war could end. Mbappe could fold and sign an extension. That would likely be a one-year arrangement which would mean the club could get a fee for him next summer. The bumper contract the player signed last summer originally did include an option for Mbappe to extend an initial two-year deal by a further year. This led to the contract being publicised widely as a three-year arrangement, a misconception encouraged by PSG parading Mbappe holding a shirt with his name and “2025” written on the back.

The realities of the agreement came out earlier this summer, when Mbappe wrote a letter proclaiming he intended to leave the club at the close of the 2023-24 season. The deadline to activate that one-year extension to 2025 was due to expire and the player says he was simply exercising his contractual rights with his decision. Mbappe’s preference is to continue for another year at PSG before moving on next summer.


The PSG hierarchy smells a rat though. There is a belief at Parc des Princes that Mbappe has already agreed to sign for Real Madrid at the end of next season. It should be said there is no publicly-available evidence to support this. But the club are outright refusing to incubate Mbappe for a further year just for him to leave for nothing. 

It is an understandable stance. Mbappe is one of the world’s biggest football superstars and arguably the sport’s most gifted player. Even with a year remaining on his contract, the Ligue 1 club could receive a hefty fee for his services. But will that fee be forthcoming? Real have spent big this summer on a deal for Jude Bellingham. That transfer from Borussia Dortmund could end up costing around £114 million with add-ons. Even the Galacticos are unlikely to put their hands in their pockets for an outlay that would likely cost even more than that.

The latest twist in this dramatic tale is the fact Al-Hilal have reportedly entered the race for Mbappe’s services. The club are said to be willing to pay €200m with €400m coming the player’s way as a salary over the course of two years.. 

It would delay the Real move, if that is indeed in the offing. But the player is still only 24 years of age. Mbappe could still play the best years of his career in La Liga. Even if he cut ties with the Saudi Pro League side after 12 months, a year of Mbappe would still do wonders for the reputation of the league. The forward might not relish the drop-down in quality but might be convinced by the financial package and the clean break in his problematic relationship with PSG.

Every summer has its transfer saga involving a big-name player. Given the surprisingly-straightforward nature of Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami, Mbappe has now filled that void. Harry Kane’s possible move from Tottenham Hotspur to Bayern Munich had looked like occupying that slot, but they don’t come much bigger than Mbappe. Whether he’s wearing a PSG kit, a Real Madrid strip or the colours of Al-Hilal; the world will be watching. Just don’t expect Kylian Mbappe to go quietly.

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