It wouldn’t be summer without a Kylian Mbappe transfer saga and for the third year in a row, there is strong talk about the French forward leaving PSG. It has long been expected that Mbappe would ultimately swap Paris for Madrid at some point, however in recent days a huge potential curveball has arisen in the shape of a world record offer from Saudi club Al Hilal.
Mbappe’s situation is a curious one in that while he only signed a new deal at PSG last year, his contract in France expires next summer. The player does have the option of an extra year but has already communicated to his club that he will not be taking up that option.
That leaves PSG in an awkward position where they will need to sell Mbappe before this transfer window closes if they want to receive a fee for their star asset. They are believed to be keen to do that given the vast sum of money that would still be involved and would certainly have welcomed Saudi interest in the striker with Real Madrid yet to commit to a move this summer.
Kylian Mbappe Al Hilal transfer latest: Is the striker heading to Saudi Arabia?
Despite Al Hilal delegation flying to Paris Kylian Mbappé has rejected to negotiate with Al Hilal ⛔️🇸🇦 #PSG
Mbappé has currently no intention to open talks despite €200m fixed salary proposal plus 100% image rights.
⚪️ PSG, convinced that Mbappé agreed terms with Real Madrid. pic.twitter.com/bsbF0zlreP
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 26, 2023
Al Hilal are believed to have submitted a bid in the region of £260m for Mbappe. That would have smashed the existing world record which is the sum of around £200m that PSG paid Barcelona for Neymar in 2017. With an eye-watering salary and 100% image rights on top of that, the deal could have seen Mbappe enjoy the greatest season-long pay day in football history before still moving on to play for Real Madrid next summer.
However, Mbappe and his representatives have reportedly refused to even meet with Al Hilal despite the Saudi club sending a delegation to Paris to attempt to close the transfer. As it stands, it looks unlikely that the 24 year old will be joining the growing list of stars that have swapped European football for the riches of the Saudi Pro League.
The prospect of Mbappe playing in the country, even if it was only for one season, would have been a massive coup for Saudi Arabia and their ambitious football project. It would have certainly silenced the doubters who suggested the league would only be able to bring in players heading towards the end of their careers that were seeking one final day.
While some younger players have moved too, none have carried anything like Mbappe’s star power and the Frenchman’s decision to reject such an enormous offer feels like a minor win for European football.
What happens now with Mbappe?
Barring any u-turns on the Saudi front, there only appears to be two clubs that Kylian Mbappe could potentially play for next season. One is his present employer PSG, however their priority has been made quite public in that they want the striker to either sign a new contract or leave the club this summer.
With Mbappe showing no interest in extending his stay in Paris, a move to Real Madrid becomes the most realistic outcome. It’s one that in theory should suit all parties given it’s the club Mbappe has dreamt of playing for since he was a young boy while it has been Florentino Perez’s long held desire to bring the 2018 World Cup winner to the Santiago Bernabeu.
While there may be some temptation from Real Madrid’s perspective to simply leave things until next summer when they could potentially get Mbappe for free, that would be a risky strategy and it’s one that backfired only last year when PSG convinced Mbappe to sign a new deal just when it seemed a move to Spain was all but certain.
The coming days and weeks will most likely see negotiations between PSG and Real Madrid take place and after his swift rejection of Saudi interest, it’s hard to see any other club becoming a serious contender in the race for Mbappe.