Kylian Mbappé has ignited a contentious dispute over his contract with Paris St-Germain (PSG) as he seeks a departure from the club.
The French striker has firmly stated that he never engaged in discussions regarding an extension beyond the upcoming season, further fueling the frenzy surrounding his future.
Following Mbappé’s letter, in which he explicitly declined the option to remain at PSG until 2025, the club was left dumbfounded. PSG vehemently denies any claims that they have not engaged in negotiations for a contract renewal.
A spokesperson for the club stated, “It is emphatically untrue to say Mbappé’s team have not been involved in renewal discussions.”
Consequently, PSG has been left with no choice but to reluctantly put their star player up for sale, lest they risk losing him for nothing next summer.
Real Madrid, who believed they could acquire Mbappé for free last year and had a bid of €180 million (£154 million) rejected the previous summer, currently stands as the leading contender to secure his services.
Recent comments from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, made in the wake of the announcement to sign Jude Bellingham, have further fueled speculation that Mbappé remains a target for the club.
However, Perez has suggested that the attacker will be signed next year, leading to suspicion that this statement prompted Mbappé’s letter expressing his desire to run down his current contract.
Despite Real Madrid’s interest, they are faced with the task of finding a replacement for Karim Benzema this summer after the unexpected decision of the striker to reject a 12-month contract extension and accept a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad.
As part of their bid to secure Mbappé, Real Madrid might offer a cash sum alongside French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, whom PSG sought last year.
While there is anticipation of interest from Premier League clubs, sources at Manchester City, Chelsea, Newcastle United, and Liverpool have downplayed rumors of a potential move.
The ownership situation at Manchester United complicates their involvement, as it will depend on the identity of the club’s new owner. Nonetheless, at this stage, a move to Manchester United seems unlikely.
Mbappé, through a statement to the news agency AFP, has insisted that the club was informed “on July 15, 2022” — a few weeks after he signed a new contract — that he would not be exercising the option for a further 12-month deal.
Although Mbappé was seen holding a shirt with “2025” during the contract signing, it was always intended as a two-year deal with the possibility of an additional year, favoring the player.
At 24 years old, Mbappé has now definitively stated that he will not extend his contract under the current terms. He was required to inform the club of his decision by July 31.
According to Mbappé, the purpose of his letter was solely to confirm what had been discussed previously. The statement clarifies, “Kylian Mbappé and his entourage confirm that this matter has not been discussed since over the course of the year, except a fortnight ago to announce the sending of the letter.”
“No potential contract extension has been mentioned.”
The statement concludes by expressing Mbappé’s regret that the letter was leaked to the media and accuses the involved parties of attempting to tarnish their image and disrupt negotiations with the club.
PSG finds itself in a state of confusion, having been taken aback by the leaked letter and unwilling to let Mbappé depart without receiving compensation. As a result, they must now either renegotiate his contract or proceed with a sale during this transfer window.
It is currently unclear how much Mbappé will cost, as PSG is still processing the news. However, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has previously suggested a valuation of up to €350 million (£299 million).
Nevertheless, given the circumstances, PSG is unlikely to command anywhere near that figure, which would represent a world-record transfer fee.
Mbappé’s statement implies his willingness to remain at the club and fulfill the remainder of his contract, a situation that would undoubtedly create significant tension with PSG, who cannot afford to let that scenario unfold.
The only alternative, if a bidding war ensues, would be for a club to reach an agreement to sign Mbappé next year while allowing him to stay at PSG for one more season.
However, this would involve a significantly reduced transfer fee and may not align with the preferences of either Mbappé or PSG.
PSG, including sporting director Luis Campos, who has been a mentor to Mbappé since their time together at the club, was shocked to learn of his intentions through the French media, although Mbappé vehemently disputes this.
Furthermore, there is confusion regarding the suggestion that PSG did not engage in discussions about a contract extension, particularly given their public announcement of the “2025” date.
The club has also structured its team around Mbappé, exemplified by the decision not to renew Lionel Messi’s contract, and is effectively open to offers for Neymar as well.