In one of the most bizarre transfer stances in history, Paris Saint-Germain have stood firm in their position to keep hold of star asset Kylian Mbappe after knocking back a staggering £189million bid from Real Madrid on Deadline Day – and it could prove to be a mistake.
Outsiders looking in have been baffled throughout the summer as this transfer saga rumbled on given that PSG have been offered a good price for a player who is in the final year of his contract and has his heart set on a move to the Spanish capital. Of course, the Ligue 1 giants have made exquisite signings this summer, the crown jewel of this Waitrose-style shopping spree being the capture of Lionel Messi on a free transfer from Barcelona.
It has been clear that the signings the club have made this summer is to fund a win or bust challenge for this season’s UEFA Champions League. With the arrival of Messi, the thought of a front three of the Argentine, Mbappe and Neymar was excitingly frightening. Yet, the paradise PSG seemingly created for themselves quickly shattered around them as Mbappe voiced his desire to leave.
Real Madrid came calling immediately to snatch one of Europe’s hottest players, and given Mbappe was in the final year of his contract at PSG, the move seemed inevitable – while expected to not be concluded until the final day of the window. It now appears that the 34-time La Liga winners will sign the World Cup winner on a free transfer next summer, and while that is an incredible signing, PSG have had a disaster in allowing their most expensive asset to leave for nothing when a whopping £189million was on the table.
This questionable decision further highlights how desperate PSG are to get their hands on their first Champions League title after falling short on too many occasions. The club’s hierarchy must feel that their best chance will be this season, following the recruitment that they have orchestrated this summer and they see Mbappe integral to their chances – so integral that they are willing to sacrifice just shy of £200m in the hopes of lifting their first trophy in the continent’s showpiece tournament.
The squad that has been assembled has put a surmountable amount of pressure on the shoulders of PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino, and if he is unsuccessful in conquering Europe with the explosive talent at his disposal, the club may come to regret their stubbornness this summer.
The marquee signings Messi and Sergio Ramos will be a year older, being 35 and 36 respectively, and if PSG are not the champions of Europe after their first season, it will become less likely that they will in the second. The reality is that the pair are essentially on their last legs playing at the highest level and they are no longer at a stage in their careers where they will improve with age, they will do the opposite and slowly regress as Father Time catches up.
It feels as though the cons far outweigh the pros of PSG holding on to Mbappe this summer. And the fact that they seem content with the forward departing their club in a year’s time for nothing is one of the most confusing transfer stances of all time that will surely come back to haunt them.