Kylian Mbappe has told Paris Saint-Germain that he wants to leave the club and is prepared to see the final year of his contract out to leave on a free transfer if needed.
Mbappe is being chased by Real Madrid, who have been preparing themselves for this moment for what feels like an eternity. However, Los Blancos are keen to preserve their relationship with PSG and will not move for Mbappe until the French side confirm he can leave.
So far, that confirmation has not come. PSG are prepared to dig their heels in and have warned Mbappe that he will not be sold this summer, and according to L’Equipe, the 22-year-old has made it clear he will hang around and leave on a free next summer.
Mbappe is reluctant to make a scene and publicly demand an exit as he knows there is a chance Real cannot afford him anyway in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, but he has made it clear that it would be in PSG’s best interests to sell him now while they still can.
However, PSG are having none of it. They are adamant that Mbappe will not be sold this summer and are prepared to take the risk of letting him approach the final six months of his contract in the hope that they can convince him to stay.
It’s obviously a risky strategy, but it could pay off. We saw Manchester United do this exact thing with goalkeeper David de Gea in 2019, refusing to sell him to Madrid in the summer and succeeding in winning him over a few months later.
PSG are hopeful of the same outcome. President Nasser Al-Khelaifi has personally taken control of the negotiations after growing frustrated at the lack of progress made by sporting director Leonardo, whom L’Equipe believe focused too much on money and not enough on convincing Mbappe of the club’s sporting project.
There are fears that Leonardo may have frustrated Mbappe so much that a U-turn is now impossible, but Al-Khelaifi is prepared to try and believes he has already shown his intentions by funding a major summer spending spree already.
Georginio Wijnaldum has joined on a free transfer and is expected to be followed by former AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, while Inter right-back Achraf Hakimi is on the cusp of a £60m move to the Parc des Princes as well.
The hope is that Mbappe will see just how determined PSG are to win the Champions League and decide to sign a new contract, but the French side have just five months to convince him before he is able to talk to new clubs.