Real Madrid are resigned to Kylian Mbappé loss
PSG president Al Khelaifi's blunt message regarding his French star has frustrated Los Blancos' senior management over their plan to sign him this summer.
When Paris Saint-Germain president Al Khelaifi dropped the bombshell in the pages of L'Équipe on Sunday - that Kylian Mbappé would be staying in Paris 100%, “we will never sell him and he will never be released", Real Madrid’s chief, Florentino Pérez, and the senior executives at the club's headquarters sent out a message of resignation, one that was already beginning to take hold in view of the intransigent stance taken by the Parisien hierarchy. That sense of acceptance at the Bernabéu, given that the transfer battle now appears deadlocked, is to the despair of both Madrid and Mbappé himself.
Mbappé to hold out in Paris
The problem is not the first part of Al Khelaifi’s statement ("We are never going to sell him"), as we’ve already seen that PSG are not a club that will easily sell players they don’t want to, see the cases of Verratti and Rabiot as examples. Money is not a problem for them and PSG love to publicly show off that they would rather ignore a lucrative transfer fee than admit that one of their players would prefer to be involved with another club they deem more attractive. This idea of it being proof of institutional and sporting weakness terrifies them.
What has really frustrated the Madrid leadership, however, is the second sentence ("He will never be released"). That is a bold thing to say given that Kylian's contract with PSG expires on 30 June 2022, just over a year away. In the Spanish capital they are aiming for a scenario similar to that of Messi at Barça (he has yet to sign his contract with the club and his contract expires on 30 June this year) and even that of Sergio Ramos, which they are embroiled in themselves. The strategy with Mbappé is to convince him, as has been done thus far, not to renew no matter how many zeros the sheikh adds to the deal. And these are being added. Some reports suggest he has been offered an annual salary of 80 million euros gross (40 million net), an amount that Madrid cannot consider at the moment.
The problem is that although the young star is stoically resisting the temptations of a gargantuan salary, the expression "he will never be released" implies that Al Khelaifi will do everything reasonable, and unreasonable, to twist Mbappé’s arm sufficiently between now and June 2022. The pressure on the youngster will be enormous and even more so with thoughts on playing at the World Cup in Qatar in November, five months after his current contract with the French club expires.
As it stands, Madrid are resigned to the fact that it will not be possible to make their dream signing this summer, leaving everything at the mercy of Kylian’s strength to hold out. Unfortunately for Madridistas, this means that it now looks as though the summer of 2021 will be one without the signing of Mbappé or Erling Haaland. We will have to reinvent ourselves or find another attractive option in the market that has not yet been identified. The two jewels of the summer appear some distance from shining at the new Bernabéu...