Kylian Mbappe transfer latest: Destination Madrid? Other offers? What next?

Kylian Mbappe transfer latest: Destination Madrid? Other offers? What next?


It all sounds so simple.

Kylian Mbappe has said he wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Real Madrid want to sign him, and they made an offer in early January. This summer, Mbappe will be out of contract, free to join the club of his choice.

He’s free now to discuss terms with whomever he likes, and has dismissed the option of staying in France.

But there are still several unresolved questions. Including the big one.

The transfer saga between Mbappe and Madrid has seen more twists and turns than many care to remember. And even now — at a very advanced stage in their latest negotiations — it is not certain where he will play next season.

Mbappe has scored 243 goals since signing for PSG in 2017 (David Ramos/Getty Images)

On Friday, Mbappe told PSG team-mates of his decision to leave in a dressing-room speech.

But club sources — who, like all those cited here, preferred to speak anonymously to protect relationships — said no mention was made of who he will be joining, even if Mbappe has previously told team-mates that he would like it to be Madrid.

Mbappe has known the terms Madrid are willing to offer him since early January, an offer that left some influential members of his camp unconvinced, which has delayed Real’s attempts to sign him. They were also unimpressed by Madrid’s request that he communicate a decision to them by mid-January.

Mbappe’s address to his fellow players at PSG’s training ground on Friday came one day after news emerged of his decision to leave at the end of the season.

The circumstances of his departure are still to be arranged — the expectation is that an official announcement on the subject will be made by PSG and the player in the next few months.

Let’s take a look at the issues at play, starting by going a bit deeper into what PSG and Mbappe still have to discuss.

When is a free transfer not a free transfer?

In August, PSG and Mbappe were going through a moment of high tension. Mbappe had been excluded from first-team training and did not travel on the club’s pre-season tour after indicating he would not take up the option to extend his contract by an extra year.

At Mbappe’s request, a meeting was held between him and club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi just before the season started, and there it was agreed that he would be reinstated. He played the first match of the new campaign and then another meeting was held after the game, with sporting director Luis Campos and manager Luis Enrique also present.

The French club have always sought to stress that any possible Mbappe departure at the end of 2023-24 would not be a ‘free transfer’, even though he would be leaving at the expiry of his contract. The agreement reached at those two meetings explains why.

It is a complex arrangement that covers several scenarios — but each one, according to sources familiar with its terms, would see Mbappe compensate the club financially if he did leave on the expiry of his contract after June 30.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Mbappe in 2022 (Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

How exactly that ends up looking will be shaped further by talks between player and club over the next few months, but sources at PSG describe this as a legally binding written agreement.

The issue was discussed by Mbappe and Al-Khelaifi on Tuesday when the player said he intended to leave this summer. Al-Khelaifi reiterated the club’s stance to Mbappe: that they believe he has to make financial sacrifices related to his earnings at PSG, or pay them part of any signing-on bonus he receives from Madrid.

And the issue is still being discussed.

When Madrid made attempts to sign Mbappe in 2022, they offered a €130million (£111m; $140m at current rates) signing bonus and a salary of €26m per year.

Madrid’s most recent offer to Mbappe was lower than that, although still substantial enough to make him by far the highest-paid player in the Madrid squad. Mbappe’s annual salary at PSG is around €75million after tax, before any bonuses.

Speaking on Friday, a PSG source suggested that whatever Mbappe agrees “with Madrid” would define what comes next on this.

Does Mbappe have any other offers from elsewhere?

PSG sources have said in recent weeks that they have heard Mbappe has firm interest from a “third club”. These same sources claimed they did not fully trust this information, and that they believed it could be part of a negotiating tactic. As far as previous offers are concerned, in July 2023, PSG received and accepted a €300m offer from Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal for the player.

Mbappe’s camp declined to comment on the issue of whether there are other offers this time around.

All the information The Athletic has gathered suggests Mbappe only has one offer from outside PSG — Madrid’s. Any club in the world would want to have the striker in their squad, but it seems the Frenchman has just that offer on the table.

Mbappe, pictured in September, told his team-mates on Friday he is leaving (Aurelien Meunier – PSG via Getty Images)

What is the latest from Madrid?

For weeks, sources on the Madrid coaching staff have reflected a confidence in the idea of Mbappe being part of their squad next season, and that confidence has only grown this week, even before news of the player’s decision to leave PSG emerged.

That was the message conveyed by the board to senior figures at Valdebebas during this week’s trip to Germany, where the team played the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie against RB Leipzig on Tuesday evening.

However, sources at Madrid have, since Thursday, preferred to play down the suggestion that a deal with Mbappe has been reached.

Nothing fundamental has changed from Madrid’s point of view. They would still like to sign Mbappe, a player they have followed for years — and the ultimate sign of their determination to do so is the leading role Florentino Perez has played in negotiations.

So, what can we expect next? Surely Mbappe won’t end up staying…

In any story involving Real Madrid and Kylian Mbappe, it is dangerous to speculate.

But we do know that it remains to be confirmed whether Mbappe and Madrid have come to an agreement, and it appears no other club is yet to make him an offer.

We also know that, despite this saga, PSG are determined to hold on to Mbappe’s 17-year-old brother Ethan, who the club do expect to sign a new deal.

One other detail is also important. Madrid knew that Mbappe was going to tell PSG his decision this week. That tells you that they are still in very close contact.

(Top photo: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)


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