If you thought that Lionel Messi joining Paris Saint-Germain couldn’t possibly be topped during this summer’s transfer window, there might still be one or two surprises coming in the final two weeks before the Aug. 31 transfer deadline, according to reports in Spain.
The rumor mill indicates that Kylian Mbappe, who has a year remaining on his contract with PSG, has requested a meeting with the club’s president to discuss his future, which reports say will see him eventually move to Real Madrid, whether it’s this summer or next.
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If Mbappe is focused on joining Real Madrid and PSG does not transfer him this summer, the club risks losing him for free next year upon the expiration of his contract in June 2022. That might be a price that the club is willing to pay in order to have the 22-year-old available to help Messi and Neymar lead the club to its first-ever UEFA Champions League trophy this year. But PSG could also use any cash from a proposed transfer to replace him, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s name has come up as a potential candidate in the last 24 hours.
Although reports about Mbappe and Real Madrid having an agreement in place surfaced earlier in the summer, all the recent Mbappe to Real Madrid chatter has been coming from Spain. However, none of the reports have been substantiated by the main French outlets.
Spanish sports daily Marca had Mbappe on its Monday cover with the title “The Final Stretch: The operation for the potential signing of Mbappe with Real Madrid enters into a decisive phase this week.”
Could Mbappe to Real Madrid happen?
Real Madrid’s financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and PSG’s deep pockets and resulting lack of urgency to sell one of its best players combine to make this a bit difficult to see happen. But losing a valuable player for nothing next year might be a scenario that even a club as rich as PSG can’t stomach.
And supplying oxygen to the rumors were two incidents in recent days that occurred in Paris. First, Mbappe was jeered by his hometown PSG crowd when his name and number were shown on the video screen at the club’s first home match of the year:
Then, there was Mbappe’s conspicuous absence from a photo taken at Ander Herrera’s birthday party which featured all the club’s other stars:
Sergio Ramos y Leo Messi se han estrenado en su primer cumpleaños como jugadores del PSG con Ander Herrera, destacando la ausencia de Kylian Mbappé. https://t.co/nibgoVcvox
— AS México (@ASMexico) August 16, 2021
While there has been no news from Mbappe’s camp and Real Madrid has also been quiet, at Messi’s presentation last week, PSG’s president Nasser Al-Khelaifi sounded confident about Mbappe staying on with his hometown club.
“I think everybody knows the future of Kylian,” Al-Khelaifi said. “He’s a really competitive player. He wants to win and win trophies. He stated it publicly. He wanted a competitive team and I think we have the most competitive team in the world. There’s no excuse for him now. He can’t do anything else but stay.”
Mbappe, who won the 2018 World Cup with France, has been an important player for PSG since arriving on loan from AS Monaco in 2017 and then sealing his move permanently a year later. He has 92 goals for PSG in 109 Ligue 1 matches and another 21 goals in 36 UEFA Champions League contests.
PSG acquired Mbappe from Monaco in a transfer deal that reportedly cost them over $200 million, including add-ons and bonuses. The club would be in line for a loss if Real Madrid’s proposed transfer fee of $140 million is to be believed.
Cristiano Ronaldo to replace Mbappe?
As much as losing Mbappe would be considered a blow to PSG’s Champions League hopes this year, it would also be a hit to the team’s reputation to have a young world superstar turn his back on his hometown team.
But PSG can turn the narrative around pretty quickly if the suggested backup move materializes. Reports earlier on Monday indicated that, if PSG accepted Real Madrid’s cash, it would turn around and acquire Ronaldo from Juventus. The Italian club may not be entirely against letting its big-money star walk given its own financial issues and three years of falling short in the Champions League with Ronaldo.
It would be must-see TV to have Ronaldo and Messi playing on the same team at PSG, but French journalist Loic Tanzi was pouring cold water over that scenario, stating that “today Ronaldo is not an option for [PSG] this summer” and adding that the club doesn’t want to transfer Mbappe.
— Loïc Tanzi (@Tanziloic) August 16, 2021
There was a subsequent rumor that emerged from Spain and the show “El Chiringuito” about Real Madrid wanting Ronaldo back, and Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti had to dispel those rumors himself via Twitter. Ronaldo later released a statement via Instagram, but outside of saying that his “story with Real Madrid has been written”, he really didn’t rule out a potential move and didn’t mention his current club, Juventus, by name.
“There have been frequent news and stories associating me with a number of clubs in many different Leagues, with nobody ever being concerned about trying to find out the actual truth.
“I’m breaking my silence now to say that I can’t allow people to keep playing around with my name. I remain focused on my career and in my work, committed and prepared for all the challenges that I have to face. Everything else? Everything else is just talk.”
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