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Mbappé takes biggest step towards Madrid as PSG ramp up Haaland operation

Kylian Mbappé's admission of his intentions to leave Paris in the summer places him further from PSG than ever before. The French club wants Erling Haaland as his replacement.

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Mbappé takes biggest step towards Madrid as PSG ramp up Haaland operation
FRANCK FIFE AFP

Real Madrid will have been delighted to hear Kylian Mbappé's statements on Monday, in which he revealed publicly for the first time that he had asked to leave PSG in the summer.

Mbappé’s declaration has strengthened Madrid's position that was initiated at the end of August, when it made a series of firm offers that were rejected by PSG’s Qatari ownership. Mbappé has finally taken the step of publicly acknowledging his intention to leave Parc de Princes in favor of the Santiago Bernabéu -- a move which will be highly valued by those at Madrid.

PSG want Haaland to replace Mbappé

PSG, meanwhile, will be acutely aware that the French star is moving increasingly farther away from the club, which is why they have finally taken the first serious steps towards finding his replacement. And Erling Haaland is top of the priority list.

More than a month has passed since the market closed and PSG’s refusal to sell Mbappé to Madrid; and yet they still cannot find a way to bend the player to their will. He has not renewed, and has no intentions of doing so and now PSG know losing him for free next summer is the likeliest outcome.

PSG’s first meaningful moves towards Haaland, as revealed by La Gazzetta dello Sport last week, are closely linked to the future of Mbappé. Knowing that from January 1 there is nothing stopping the signing of an official preliminary agreement between the 22-year-old forward and Madrid, the club has made its first advances for the Norwegian star. It will be a difficult signing that requires a lot of engineering -- hence the early movement.

PSG, Real Madrid prepare for Haaland battle

Borussia Dortmund's Erling Braut Haaland acknowledges the fans after receiving an award before the match against Sporting Lisbon.

Haaland, of course, is another star on Real Madrid’s radar. The Bernabéu top brass are currently evaluating their options when it comes to signing the Borussia Dortmund striker, who is in favor of a move to Madrid over any of the other options on the table.

But the influence of his agent, Mino Raiola, will be decisive and PSG maintains an excellent relationship with the well-known super agent these days. One of his clients, Marco Verratti, has been at the club since 2012 and this summer the Italian agent played a big part in Gianluigi Donnarumma’s transfer to Parc des Princes. PSG will undoubtedly be in a position to pose a more seductive offer to Haaland financially as well as the opportunity to play with Lionel Messi and Neymar.

See also: Haaland: Raiola looking for €50m per season for Dortmund striker

As reported by AS, PSG and Real Madrid assume that there will be a battle between them for Haaland. Whatever happens regarding Mbappé, Madrid still sees the Norwegian as one of two strategic pillars for the club's future project (along with the Frenchman). He is, of course, no less strategic for PSG. Publicly the French club remains nonchalant regarding Mbappé, but behind the scenes it’s a different story, which is why they began inquiries for Haaland and Robert Lewandowski back in August.

The recent photo of Mbappé smiling with arms around Neymar and Messi in the dressing room does not hide the problem that PSG has with their French star. They did not expect him to stand firm against the club after the power it displayed in the summer. But the statements made on Monday came from the player himself. Initiating moves to sign Haaland as his replacement is a sign that PSG see Mbappé leaving Paris sooner rather than later.