by Kelvin Nyaga @Kelvinyaga
Kylian Mbappe has grabbed the headlines again, shocker!
This time not for scoring the “first teenage world cup final goal since Pele himself” as Peter Drury would put it.
He’s not in the news for facing Messi in a world cup final and scoring a hat trick while at it, either.
Mbappe is making headlines this time for pissing his employers off.
Paris has been turbulent over the last few weeks both in the streets and in the corridors of power at the Parc des Princes. The PSG hierarchy has been nursing the news that Mbappe won’t sign a new contract and is prepared to leave this time next year, for free. They also have it in good authority that Mbappe has a neat contract agreed with Real Madrid that will come into effect in 2024.
Where does this leave PSG?
With Messi's departure back in May, the complicated Neymar situation, and now this, PSG may have to fold their “Galactico project.” This strategy did not work for Real Madrid two decades ago and is clearly not working for Paris- and it looks like they get it.
The recent arrivals of Marco Asensio, Lee Kang, Hugo Ekitike, and Milan Skriniar are a huge departure from the star-studded transfer shopping list you would expect from the Parisiens. The arrival of Luis Enrique as manager also screams “different strategy” from the board, here on out.
But I didn’t write this article to discuss PSG’s future.
Mbappe’s next move
Let’s get back to the subject of the looming transfer, Kylian Mbappe. With a move clearly on the cards, Mbappe has a lot to think about. Before we look at possible scenarios, let’s look at the current situation.
According to reports, Mbappe is in no rush to leave Paris. He sees himself at PSG next season and wants to lift his final Ligue 1 trophy before heading off to Madrid. He wants a last hoorah season alongside his mates Achraf Hakimi, Neymar and Asensio, before linking up with Camavinga and Tchouaméni next year in Spain.
This is a plan that won’t fly with the Supremos at PSG. The bosses in Paris reportedly want nothing but to see Mbappe wearing the blue and white of PSG but if he plans to leave, they want a fee. This is a predictable and sensible stance by PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.
Al-Khelaïfi’s hardline stance on Mbappe makes sense for two reasons. A Mbappe departure from PSG has the potential to be one of the biggest sports deals in history, so it would be a shame to let him walk for free. The second possible reason is PSG wants to save face and get some decent cash in after years of making bad calls.
With the rumored spat between Mbappe and his chairman going on, an unlikely solution has presented itself. A £259 million move to Al-Hilal has been touted as a possible solution. A move that could see Mbappe earn an almost immoral £11.6 m a week.
To put into more context, the figures being proposed by Saudi, are so ridiculous that even NBA stars are dumbfounded. NBA stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lebron James have had something to say on the proposed deal. The proposed deal has also left Dub Nation’s Draymond Green enquiring if the Saudis have a basketball league.
These figures according to the daily mail as of the time of writing, have moved everyone except the guy that matters. Mbappe reportedly has no intention to go to Saudi, but that’s all speculation at this point. What we know for sure is that PSG have allowed Al-Hilal to talk to the player after accepting their monstrous offer.
Possible Win-Win-Win Situation
So we now have three sets of facts. One, is that Mbappe wants to move away from Paris and join Real Madrid. Two, PSG don’t want to lose him but if the player insists, they must get a fee for him. Three, Al-Hilal have had an astronomically high transfer fee accepted for the player.
The ball now is in Mbappe’s favorite right foot and he can’t miss.
From the outside looking in, this is a good problem to have. I mean the kid is being made to decide between lots of money, more money or crazy money. How hard can it be?
What we don’t see is the possible tug of war in Mbappe’s mind. An intricate balance he must achieve to avoid burning bridges, destabilizing family and possibly denting his career. He most likely does not want to burn his relationship with club chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, a man who Mbappe owes his lucrative stay at PSG to.
We can also imagine that Mbappe does not want to snub Madrid again and piss off the bosses at the Bernabeu like he did last year. Then there is the ridiculous amount of money on the table that anyone in their right mind wouldn’t ignore.
What would you do if you were in Mbappe’s position?
I know what I would do. Stuck in between competing interests that would lead to major pay days either way, I would seek to please everybody. I would put on an expensive Saudi thobe, learn some Saudi pleasantries and sign for Al-Hilal for a year.
Before you call me greedy and mercenary, think about it.
Mbappe’s plan is to stay in Paris and leave for nothing in a year. PSG clearly do not want that and if Mbappe has his way, he would be treated to a hostile reception at the Parc des Princes next year. So why would Mbappe want to subject himself to hostile crowds, and stinging media scrutiny in France when he could be getting paid and adored in Saudi?
Speaking of crowds, people will bring up the quality of the Saudi league and how no one wants to watch it apart from the Saudi people. Valid, but the same applies to the French Ligue. Ligue 1 has not exactly set the world alight in recent years and quite frankly, most people outside France only take notice of it when PSG somehow fail to win the title. So what’s the difference?
So this would be my solution. Move to Saudi for a year, get paid like a light bill, ensure PSG get their money, and move to Real Madrid next year for nothing. That’s a win-win-win situation that Mbappe should consider. I know I would, would you?