The biggest transfer rumor making the rounds right now is the one from Le Parisien about Real Madrid lining up a ridiculous €400 million offer for Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé. That’s half a billion dollars!
Anytime that kind of figure is thrown out there media outlets around the world are going to pick up on it and have their pundits discuss whether Mbappé is worth that much and can Real Madrid even afford that kind of transfer fee.
Lost in all of the chatter, somewhat surprisingly, is PSG’s role in any potential deal. Watch the video above and you would think PSG is a farm team for Real Madrid and they can pluck any player they want from their lineup with ease.
I’m always surprised at how clueless FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are when it comes to PSG and how they handle high-profile transfers. Barcelona came for Marco Verratti (L’Equipe) and Neymar Jr. (Bleacher Report) in recent years and guess what? Both players are still in Paris. Think about the past few seasons, how many times has PSG been forced to sell a player they didn’t really want to let go?
It’s also comical that both Spanish clubs think their little media tactics will work on PSG. It was cute when Zinedine Zidane said that Mbappé’s “dream is to play for Real Madrid” but PSG sporting director Leonardo quickly responded and essentially told him to mind his business. Barcelona is notorious for manipulating the Spanish media to unsettle a player they want but when it comes to PSG players, they are 0-2.
Mbappé is under contract with PSG until June 30, 2022, so the club is in no rush to sell their most valuable asset (sorry, Neymar, but it’s true). If Real Madrid wants to open up a briefcase with €400 million in it, Leonardo and club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi will have to decide if that’s enough. Some PSG supporters certainly think it’s enough:
If Real Madrid submits an offer of €400 million for Kylian Mbappé next summer, should PSG accept?
— PSG Talk (@PSGTalk) November 13, 2019
The only way PSG will negotiate with Real Madrid is if Mbappé asks for a transfer at the end of the season and refuses to sign a contract extension. I think this only happens if PSG doesn’t reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League this season. The kid only cares about winning and he’s professional enough to man up and tell the club hierarchy what he wants.
While we’re on the topic, is Real Madrid really that much better of a destination than PSG right now?
First of all, Mbappé is a Nike athlete and Real Madrid is sponsored by Adidas. I doubt Nike would be thrilled about their athlete, who is a generational talent and a key part of their marketing plans, wearing an Adidas kit every matchday. Not only is PSG sponsored by Nike, but they also have the Jordan Brand partnership, which has been widely successful since it’s launch last season per Sports Pro Media.
I’ll concede that La Liga is a better league than Ligue 1, but how much of Mbappé’s legacy will be determined by the number of domestic titles he wins in any country?
For example, Lionel Messi has never won the FIFA World Cup and that isn’t made better by the fact that he has 10 Spanish titles. Players of their ilk are judged primarily on major international trophies, the Champions League, and the Ballon d’Or.
While under contract with PSG, Mbappé has already won the World Cup, finished fourth in the Ballon d’Or, and if all goes well this season, he could add a Champions League title to his trophy cabinet. Next summer, he can tack on a UEFA EURO 2020 title with France as well as Olympic gold. If Mbappé does all of that, he will no doubt win the Ballon d’Or. How exactly would the Frenchman benefit by moving to Madrid? Is beating teams like SD Eibar and CA Osasuna really that important to his legacy than beating Toulouse FC and AS Saint-Etienne? Is Madrid really that much closer to winning a Champions League title than PSG right now?
When you compare rosters, I’m not sure Real Madrid is that much better than PSG. In fact, PSG defeated Madrid 3-0 at the Parc des Princes earlier this season. We’ll see what happens in the return leg at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium but I expect it to be a closely contested match. The reason Madrid is so desperate for Mbappé is that they know their squad is incomplete and teams like PSG are better.
Real Madrid has also not been a great landing spot for several of their big-name signings in recent years. James Rodríguez and Gareth Bale come to mind as splashy signings that haven’t worked out as anticipated. Mbappé is more talented than both players but they serve as an example of what could happen if you choose the wrong team at the wrong time.
Then there’s the most important factor of all. Mbappé is a Bondy-native. He grew up in the suburbs of Paris. When he was ready to move on from AS Monaco in 2017, he could have joined Real Madrid then but according to former Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev, Mbappé said he wanted to become a great player in his home country.
Mbappé’s pride in France and Paris may be enough to make the decision to leave PSG difficult, but it’s the Champions League trophy that will convince him that the PSG project is worth staying for.
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