We seem to have reached the last episode of what has been a highly thrilling and eventful transfer saga of Kylian Mbappe, whose contract with PSG comes to an end next month. To say this transfer was a race will be stretching it a bit too far; it has been more of a tug-off war between two super clubs — PSG and Real Madrid, with neither of them willing to concede ground as they understand the significance of this in the long term.
No other clubs have shown interest in Mbappe because they know they can’t match his exorbitant demands, including an astronomical salary of €50 million. No clubs have gone as far as PSG to retain their player. As per El Chiringuito TV, the club has offered to hand him full authority over their sporting project, meaning his would be the final say over all consequential matters related to the squad.
If Mbappe feels Mauricio Pochettino is not suitable to manage his club, he can remove him and appoint a new manager of his own choice. This is totally unseen and unprecedented in a team sport: an individual so young, so powerful, so promising, bending the entire rule of football clubs operation to his will.
Similarly, Real Madrid have been pursuing him from as early as 2017, when Mbappe was still in his teens, playing for Monaco. They knocked on the door again last year, but it was in vain. This time though, they have taken a giant stride in the pursuit of this French forward.
What Is Real Madrid’s Obsession With Kylian Mbappe?
A mythical club needs a mythical hero. Stroll down to their previous eras of world domination, and each of them is characterised by a coterie of supremely talented footballers. Individual talents trump the system, here. Sergio Ramos’ bullet header is all it takes to sink the 90 minutes of high-quality defensive display of opponents. Luka Modric’s flick of boots is enough to snap the dominating run of a Pep Guardiola’s high-intensity project. Stack a bunch of players who are insanely good with the ball, add some fillers, and see the magic unfolds – this very much explains the whole modus operandi of the club.
But ever since Cristiano Ronaldo left them, and their acquisition of Eden Hazard didn’t pan out as they’d hoped, they have been desperately seeking the new face for the club. Not that the current squad doesn’t have any, rather they are still home to some of the most skillful, era-defining players, but age is catching up fast. Benzema is having the time of his life, but the pressing question, here, is for how long he can sustain it? Luka Modric is still the most exquisite player of his generation, but the wrinkles on his face already depict the inevitable march of time.
Securing Mbappe will secure the next decade of this club. It will also ease their dependence on Benzema, who has been the most prominent source of goals from them. It’s hard to imagine Real Madrid’s stunning campaign in both domestic and European leagues in the absence of Benzema. Real Madrid needs to be judicious about Benzema, who will turn in a few months. And this is where Mbappe will come in handy for the club.
Further, Real Madrid have consistently struggled to find a winger to pair up with Vinicius. Eden Hazard, Rodrygo, Asensio, and Gareth Bale have been used sparingly, but none of them showed any promises. In the knock-out stages, they had to use Fede Valverde on right-wing, which is not even his natural position.
To fill the gaping void left by Cristiano Ronaldo is too big an ask from any player, but if there’s someone who Real Madrid fans will bet on, it would certainly be Kylian Mbappe.
“Mbappe would go quite a way to satisfying the fans, for sure.” wrote Conor Clancy in Marca. “He’s probably one of the few players who can replicate Cristiano’s figures in terms of goals, and he’d lift the team as well just because of the pure excitement he brings. If he arrives to accompany Hazard in attack, Madrid should be able to challenge on all fronts again.”
Why Is PSG So Desperate To Retain Mbappe?
PSG is desperate because the whole identity of the club in the past few years has been centered around Mbappe. Messi has already entered the dusk of his career, while Neymar has never managed to regain his potential at this club.
It is Mbappe who rules the roost. With his unmatched popularity in France, he is of great cultural significance to the club. After their dramatic Champions League exit earlier this year, only Mbappe’s entrance was met with cheers at Le Parc des Princes, while both Messi and Neymar were booed. Their resentment towards everyone barring Mbappe is quite understandable.
While others around him have blown hot and cold, Mbappe has been a consistent goal-scoring threat, netting 25 goals and bagging 17 appearances this season in Ligue 1. Last year in December, he became the youngest player to reach 30 goals in Champions League. He also broke Messi’s record of 119 goals in domestic competition before turning 25. Overall, he has a combined total of 245 goals and assists in 216 appearances for PSG.
Beneath PSG’s desperation lies a gnawing fear of the impact his absence would have on the club.
Featured Image Credit: @Kylian Mbappe