Kylian Mbappé on Thursday. AFP
Mbappé, this year or next?
A look at LaLiga

Mbappé, this year or next?

The player is destined to wear the number nine shirt of Real Madrid

Rob Palmer. Commentator, ESPN

Friday, 16 June 2023, 15:23


What I want to know... The letter written by Kylian Mbappé to Paris Saint-Germain. Did he write it by hand? Did he type it? Did he deliver it personally? Or was there a courier?

It's a communication that has shaken the whole football world - and the aftershocks are reaching all parts of Europe from the French capital.

In Madrid, they are anticipating that he will finally arrive - a year ahead of schedule. In London, it's now uncertain whether Harry Kane will leave Tottenham for Real Madrid. In Manchester, there's concern Marcus Rashford may be the man to replace Mbappé at PSG.

It's a chain of events started by Karim Benzema leaving Real ahead of schedule to take up the Saudi offer. The plan was that he'd leave in the summer of 2024 when his fellow France international would have served his contract at PSG.

Seeing the job opportunity, Mbappé took out his Montblanc and scribbled a note to his current employers stating that he wouldn't be taking up the option to extend his contract next summer. Then all hell was let loose!

Let's face it, he's destined to wear the number nine shirt of Real Madrid. He's been treading water in Ligue 1 and feels unfulfilled. He's probably the only man in the world who would be an upgrade on Benzema and his arrival would take Real to another level.

With the signing of Jude Bellingham plus the development of Aurélien Tchouaméni and Edouardo Camavinga, Real have an exciting young midfield that is the envy of Europe. Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior took their talents to the next level last season. All that is needed now is a line leader. The question is, can Real muster €200 million to prise Mbappé from PSG? Or do they wait a year to sign him for free?

There's no doubt that the fans would want the club to splash the cash. The players will want to play alongside him. He'd make Real Madrid the most-feared team in the Champions League again.

It's a no-brainer - until the club accountants enter the equation. They'd reason he won't add a single spectator to a Bernabéu stadium that sells out every week and it would be impossible to sell enough shirts to pay the fee.

The player himself may hold the key. If he sits out another year in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, he can personally claim a large chunk of the €200-million transfer pot. If he signs this summer, then his signing-on fee is considerably smaller.

The owners of PSG also have a major part to play. The Qatari multi-billionaires don't need the money and they are within their rights to demand that Mbappé serve the final year of his contract. They've just lost one headline act in Lionel Messi and Neymar isn't the most reliable. They must find replacements of a similar stature to play in an inferior league.

Personally, I'd love to be commentating on Mbappé at the peak of his powers every week. It would be a statement signing for the club and the whole image of La Liga. It would be ideal if there was a swift resolution, but I see this rolling all summer.

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