Mbappe to Real Madrid

One of the best strikers in the modern era of world football, Kylian Mbappe, has been linked with a sensational move to the Bernabeu, but his antics last summer might have burned some bridges along the way. We are going to discuss some of the elements and dynamics of a potential move away from PSG, what it means for world football and who are the possible candidates other than Real Madrid. 

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Links with Real Madrid

During the summer of 2022, Kylian Mbappe was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, with most of the talks being done confidently. A lot of meetings took place between Florentino Perez and Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who did not get off on the right foot as they didn’t agree on a time for their meeting. Both men wanted different things, Florentino Perez wanted to get Kylian Mbappe off PSG’s payroll and continue their imperious rule in the Champions League, whilst Nasser wanted to make it as difficult as possible for the Frenchman to move away from the French capital. Kylian Mbappe’s mother, Fayza Lamari, who is also his his agent, was involved as well, but pressure from high officials swayed the Frenchman to extend his contract with PSG. 

This decision left Florentino Perez heartbroken as he thought that talks were advancing well and that he might get what he wanted. Lamari spoke after the contract extension was done, saying that Real Madrid’s perspective was different from hers and that they misunderstood certain aspects of the negotiations, leading them to believe it’s a done deal. She shifted the blame to Florentino Perez for leaking the information to the Spanish media. So the events that went down last summer surely impacted the relationship between Mbappe and Real Madrid, especially the fans who took offence by the contract renewal. 

Mpabbe’s Contract

The deal was the centrepiece of many debates and controversies with many pointing out that Kylian Mbappe is no longer a football player but an integral cog in the PSG machine. The contract extension not only had a huge bump in his weekly salary but also given him a say in transfer dealings and various other areas within the club—something not many clubs around the world would offer to the Frenchman. The contract talks were heavily influenced by high officials in both Qatar and France, with president Emmanuel Macron involved in the talks as well—not common for a country’s president to interfere in such negotiations, but Kylian Mbappe is no common player. 

The picture where Mbappe is posing with Nasser Al-Khelaifi holding up the 2025 shirt is a smokescreen. In reality, the contract extension is until 2024 with an option to renew for another year but that extension can only be triggered by the player. So should Mbappe want to move clubs he is well within his powers to not extend the aforementioned contract and leave for free. 

After a mere month and a half from the day he signed his extension, Mbappe expressed his disapproval of his team’s short-term ambitions to assemble a team strong enough to compete for the Champions League. The hierarchy of PSG responded by appointing Kylian Mbappe’s ‘’footballing father’’ as Sporting Director – Luis Campos. One of Campos’s first tasks was to find a head coach that could spearhead the operation of winning the Champions League. Christopher Galtier was the one selected as he was seen fit for the job and, more importantly, a coach with whom Mbappe could work easily and who would be open to suggestions on both transfer market strategy and football decisions. 

The transfers which Kylian Mbappe wanted to materialise were: midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, who eventually preferred to join Real Madrid, striker Robert Lewandowski who joined Barcelona, and centre-back Milan Skriniar, who stayed put at Inter Milan. Simultaneously, rumours swirled around about renewals of both Lionel Messi and Neymar, the signings did not come through the door, and relationships began to strain. Especially between the Brazilian starlet Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. 

Relationship between Neymar and Mbappe

Mbappe prefers having the creative role instead of being the focal point in the attack occupying the central figure. So that generated friction with his teammate Neymar as he would be the person taking up his role. Having so many big names in the team, the club always runs the risk of having such personality clashes on and off the pitch. Mbappe also complained to the media and on social media regarding his positioning during games which continued to escalate the issue and got people talking even more. He has also made on-pitch gestures over not receiving the ball in certain moments during the game. 

In August, the topic of the discussion was about who should be the designated penalty taker, despite Galtier having already chosen Mbappe. In mid-October, sources close to Mbappe claimed he had resolved to leave in the winter transfer window. The exit would only be facilitated should the player wish to go to Liverpool but certainly not to Real Madrid. The asking price for the approach from Liverpool was given at €400 million, but Mbappe rejected the proposal put forward as he has eyes on joining Los Blancos at a later date.

Despite the feeling that the relationship between Mbappe and PSG is crumbling and coming to an end, after the World Cup heroics he has renewed hope. The fact that the Frenchman won the Golden Boot and scored an impressive hat-trick in the FIFA World Cup 2022 has given the player a better outlook on his squad and their chances of winning the Champions League. 

Real Madrid

Los Blancos at the moment are in a place of transition, especially in the midfield as Toni Kroos and Luka Modric aren’t getting any younger and the loss of Casemiro to Manchester United cannot be underestimated. The feeling within the Spanish club is that they remain reticent about any possible transfer, mainly tied to the experience of last summer. The say and role that Mbappe has at PSG is unique and almost no other club could afford to give a player that big of a say in the club. In recent years, Real Madrid have been operating at a profit, selling on players and cultivating young talent which might be a plan of saving up the funds for a big spend later on. The calm and composed approach of Real Madrid is admirable in the current world of football and transfers. However this transfer saga ends, it will be surely be highly entertaining and possible also dramatic. 

What are your thoughts on this transfer: should a player be given such a big say on club affairs? Does he justify the €400 million price tag? Will PSG win the Champions League with Kylian Mbappe in the team? Is the move to Real Madrid still on the cards? 

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