What’s Next After the Impending Mbappe Departure?

The future of Kylian Mbappe has been quite the soap opera over the last several years. But after lots of stories, twists, and turns, it was finally resolved in February. The PSG superstar is set to depart at the end of the season, marking 7 years since joining the club from Monaco. And although his next club has not yet been officially confirmed, all soccer betting odds point towards Real Madrid being his next destination.

The decision for Mbappe to leave the club and join a Champions League rival will be a bitter pill to swallow for club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and PSG, although nobody can say they didn’t see this coming.

The saga started back in the summer of 2021 when PSG turned down a £188m (€220m) offer for Mbappe from Real Madrid. The forward would then sign a new 3-year deal in the same summer. However, the drama still resumed the next season and Mbappe looked set to join Madrid in 2022, but this was followed by a dramatic U-turn that ended with the forward signing a monumental new two-year deal with PSG. This would prompt La Liga to file a complaint to UEFA that the French club had broken FFP rules, highlighting the level of drama and rivalry.

However, the relationship between Mbappe and PSG would take a sour turn when the forward notified the club that he would not be extending to 2025. This was before the start of the 2023/24 season, and it prompted a “sign or be sold” stalemate that would end with neither.

The season then started, and Mbappe has been carrying the team with his exploits as always. Unfortunately for PSG, a departure is on the horizon.

So what’s next for PSG after losing their most important player in history?

Sporting and Tactical Implications

Players leave every now and then, but the departure of Mbappe is a whole new thing. The club has been aiming to win the Champions League, and Kylian Mbappe has been the focal point of all that. The team has been built around him with coach Louis Enrique stating in December, “He plays where he decides; he has total freedom. He has complete freedom to play inside, outside, wherever he wants, and we have to balance our positions in relation to him.”

The desire to win the Champions League also saw PSG go all-out to bring Neymar and Messi from Barcelona in an all-superstar era they hoped would bring them European success. However, that didn’t happen. Now, Messi and Neymar have left, and Mbappe will soon follow.

What PSG will have to do now is invest those wages in other areas of the club. On the field, they have already started changing the profile of players they are bringing to a younger generation. This can be seen in the recent acquisitions of Gabriel Moscardo (18) from Corinthians and Lucas Beraldo (20) from Sao Paolo. Their big-money signings from last summer who are expected to fill the striking positions are also quite young, with Goncalo Ramos being 22 and Randal Kolo Muani 25. You can expect PSG to now pivot to a younger, more cohesive team that has a longer-term focus and clear playing philosophy.

Off-Field Implications

Mbappe is a global sporting icon, not just a PSG one. And when you combine his departure with that of Lionel Messi and Neymar, you have to say that the ‘superstar’ era of PSG is over. These are players that have put PSG and League 1 on the global map, attracting sponsors and driving merchandise sales. How the loss of Mbappe will affect the commercial aspect of PSG and Ligue 1 is yet to be known, although you can say it will be felt.

That said, the team will benefit from the lack of the off-field drama that came with the stardom. Mbappe’s last deal is said to have given him too much power, including a say in transfer dealings. This led to the club finding it hard to distance itself from the moniker “Kylian Saint-Germain.”

The Parisian club has already established itself as the biggest club in France (by far) and a superpower in Europe, and a proper restructuring can ensure that continues.

Tags Gabriel Moscardo Gonçalo Ramos Kylian Mbappé Lionel Messi Lucas Beraldo Nasser Al-Khelaifi Neymar Randal Kolo Muani Real Madrid
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