The Ligue 1 Player of the Year was announced this week as Kylian Mbappé, the fourth different player from Paris Saint-Germain to be awarded the accolade in the past four seasons.
Mbappé completes the PSG triptych to be deemed as such, with Edinson Cavani and Neymar having taken home the award in the preceding years. This caps a stellar 12 months that has seen him help Les Parisiens retain the league title, another winner’s medal taking pride of place next to the Best Young Player of the World Cup as he helped guide France to their second success in the competition last summer.
Mbappé has tallied 32 goals for the campaign (in just 28 games), ten more than nearest rival Nicolas Pépé of Lille, with a stunning 67% conversion rate and due to his tender years was also afforded the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award for the third season running. He’s in contention for the European Golden Shoe, with one game remaining.
To say his talents are prized would be an understatement, with speculation as regards to his future unrelenting. The 20-year-old did more to power the gossip mill with his latest comments as he picked up his latest individual award:
“I have discovered a lot here, and I feel it is maybe the moment to have more responsibility. I hope that can perhaps be at Paris St Germain, that would be a great pleasure. Or maybe elsewhere with a new project.” (The Guardian)
Mbappé has won Ligue 1 in each of his past three seasons, his first coming in his breakthrough year with AS Monaco before a £165.7million move to the French capital made him the most expensive teenager and subject of the second-biggest transfer in history. A domestic treble coming with PSG in his inaugural season at the club under Unai Emery last year.
But where could Mbappé move onto next, and more importantly, who could afford him?
If Mbappé wants to play under Pep Guardiola, he might have to get his skates on. The Spaniard will enter his fourth season at Manchester City as manager, with a year left on his current contract on top of that. Bear in mind the longest tenure Guardiola has so far managed is four years at Barcelona before moving on. City are one of the few clubs that can afford the young forward, although this may be compromised by continuing FFP scrutiny that has objected to the more than £1billion net spend over the past decade. Sergio Agüero may be still proving his excellence but is on the wrong side of 30, and Leroy Sané is also rumoured to be moving on. A player of Mbappé’s calibre in this current City set-up, and more than complementing the supreme Raheem Sterling, would truly be the envy of Europe.
The rumour that just won’t go away. Winger Gareth Bale is most certainly out, with the Welshman denied a farewell by Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu as Real Madrid suffered a debilitating 2-0 loss to Real Betis on the final game of a sorry La Liga season for Los Blancos. Real Madrid need a rebuild after suffering severely since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure last summer, and Mbappé fits the bill, with president Florentino Pérez due to get his war chest out.
Bayern Munich have ruled themselves out of contention for the forward, with president Uli Hoeness stating the Bavarians simply don’t have the money to procure Mbappé (Waz).
A move to the Premier League with Liverpool is an outside shot, but the Champions League has remained elusive for the Frenchman, with PSG exiting in the Round of 16 in each season he’s been at the club. Liverpool meanwhile have got to two consecutive finals, whilst also asserting their domestic pedigree with a record-points tally for a runner-up in 2018/19. Though once again star man Mohamed Salah picked up the Golden Boot, sharing the accolade with teammate Sadio Mane, adding Mbappé to spearhead that triumvirate would be a remarkable coup for the Merseyside club. Liverpool have previously flaunted their financial clout, when they made Virgil van Djik the world’s most expensive defender.
Alternatively, consider a potential merry-go-round ; Bale will almost certainly depart the Spanish capital, Salah has been reportedly coveted by Los Blancos, and how could Liverpool use the funds effectively?
Extremely unlikely, but what a summer that would be!