Barcelona: Xavi to challenge Real Madrid for Mbappe deal
Barcelona are looking to capitalize on uncertainty over Kylian Mbappé's next destination with Xavi to launch a charm offensive for the PSG forward.
Barcelona have reportedly turned their attention from Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland and are planning an audacious bid to hijack Real Madrid’s attempt to secure the services of PSG forward Kylian Mbappé. According to L’Equipe, Barça see the France international as a more accessible target given the hugely elevated cost of signing Haaland and are confident Xavi can persuade Mbappé that his future lies at Camp Nou by selling the club’s vision for the next five to 10 years. That will be an essential part of any overture for the 23-year-old, with Barça unable to match the sort of financial offers that will be on the table in Madrid, London and Manchester.
Madrid have long been the frontrunners for Mbappé, who grew up idolizing Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane and is friendly with Karim Benzema, but Barça feel they can take advantage of Mbappé desire to weigh up all options before making a decision and that the lure of being coached by Xavi in an attacking system tailored to his skill set at Camp Nou could help sway the France striker. Mbappé appears to have no intention of signing a new deal at the Parc des Princes and Barça have suggested to his representatives that he hold an informal meeting with Xavi. L’Equipe stated that Mbappé admires Barcelona greatly and that the club have asked for a chat simply to lay out what the club can offer Mbappé in the medium to long term. Before signing for PSG in 2017, Mbappé held similar meetings with Liverpool and Real Madrid.
What is clear at the present time is that Mbappé has yet to make up his mind over where he feels he will be best served and the 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid in the Clásico may have turned his head slightly towards Catalonia. The general consensus in France is that Madrid remain in the driving seat but Barça throwing their hat into the ring will at least give Mbappé something to think about with the player apparently preferring a move to Spain above England and Italy.
Mbappé unlikely to remain at PSG
PSG’s defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League, a 3-0 loss at his former club Monaco and question marks over Leo Messi and Neymar seem to have crystallized Mbappé’s desire to leave the Parc des Princes in any case, although the club still hold out the slimmest hope that he can persuaded to renew a contract that expires this summer, making the France star a free agent.