Sunday, September 24, 2023

Transfer: Boehly prepares Mbappe move after talks with PSG

Chelsea are attempting to negotiate a cash-plus-player deal to bring Kylian Mbappe to the English Premier League this summer.

Paris Saint-Germain – who formally placed the France international on the transfer market after he refused to extend his contract beyond the end of the 2023-24 season – have encouraged Chelsea’s efforts to secure the forward. PSG last week accepted the offer of a world-record €300million transfer fee from Al Hilal, only for Mbappe to decline to discuss contractual terms with the Saudi Pro League club.

His relationship with Mbappe having descended into open conflict upon excluding the forward from the club’s pre-season tour of Asia, Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has also held direct discussions with Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly over a transfer to the London club. Mbappe signed an initial two-year contract renewal with PSG worth over €150million a season in May 2022. In June, the forward sent a letter to Al-Khelaifi dated July 2022 stating his intention not to take up an optional third year on the contract; a move which led PSG to believe that Mbappe has already agreed to join long-term suitors Real Madrid as a free agent next summer.

According to senior PSG sources, Madrid have not entered discussions with the French champions over a transfer since the 24-year-old was made available for sale. Although they expect an offer to be forthcoming before the end of the current window, PSG do not think it will match their own valuation of the player.

Having placed Mbappe in a group of “loft” players along with World Cup winner Leandro Paredes, Gini Wijnaldum, Julian Draxler and Abou Diallo intentionally separated from new coach Luis Enrique’s pre-season tour squad, PSG hope to force a sale, and herald a new era in which team collective is valued above any individual. The Qatar-owned club’s commitment to recovering a percentage of its immense investment in Mbappe is underlined by the readiness to sell the player to Saudi Arabia regardless of increasing political and commercial conflict between the two Gulf states.

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PSG have also attempted to offload another of their record signings, Neymar, to the Saudis only for the Brazil international to reject a series of lucrative offers from the League. Since beginning its state-funded assault on European football’s financial hegemony late last year, the Saudi Pro League has already secured the signatures of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly, Malcom, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Jordan Henderson and Marcelo Brozovic.

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