With only five months left on his contract at Paris Saint-Germain, Kylian Mbappe’s much-anticipated departure to Real Madrid continues to dominate French football headlines.
The transfer market closed last week, and Mbappe insists he has yet to determine where he will play after his current contract with PSG expires at the end of June, when he becomes a free agent.
On Saturday, ESPN and the ‘Parisien’ daily newspaper announced, without specifying a source, that the superstar striker would leave France to join Real Madrid, the world’s most powerful team.
A source at the French club told AFP on Sunday, however, there had been no change in the longstanding deadlock.
He has “not informed the club of any decision”, said the source, despite there being an agreement that the PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi will be first to know when his decision is made.
Madrid said they had no comment to make when asked about the Mbappe links by AFP on Sunday.
Mbappe last spoke on the issue in cryptic terms in early January.
“I haven’t made my decision, I haven’t made my choice. But we have an agreement with the president (Al-Khelaifi) which means that all parties are protected,” the 25-year-old told French television.
The France captain, who is likely to lead the Olympic team at the 2024 Paris Games, said he would contact Al-Khelaifi first and then reveal the news himself once a decision was made.
PSG coach Luis Enrique, a former Real player, stated Thursday, ahead of a game in which Mbappe scored his 20th league goal of the season, that the player had told him nothing personally.
What is definite is that Mbappe has signed no deal as of yet but is, in reality, stuck in negotiations with Madrid over the scale of his pay, an issue that the Qatar-backed PSG might easily match.
Mbappe is already paid around 70 million euros (75.6 million dollars) per year, and as a free agent, he will be able to negotiate a massive signing-on fee in addition to any wage increases.
After allowing Lionel Messi and Neymar to leave Paris, PSG appears to be going all effort to keep Mbappe.
Neither Messi nor Neymar have been missed, as new recruits such as Randal Kolo Muani and Marco Asnesio have reached an agreement with Mbappe
If the 2018 World Cup winner and 2022 World Cup top scorer joins Madrid in July, he will join 20-year-old English star Jude Bellingham and Brazilian forwards Rodrygo and Vinicius, one of whom will have to make way for the Frenchman.