by Pawan Atri
World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe has been linked to a move to Real Madrid after rejecting Paris Saint-Germain’s latest five-year contract offer this week. The Spanish giants are extremely keen to land the prodigious French striker at the Santiago Bernabeu as early as possible, but the Ligue 1 club is playing hardball over his valuation.
Thirty-four-time La Liga champions Real Madrid have submitted a $188 million opening bid to sign France forward Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), but their offer was immediately turned down by the French club, ESPN reported on Wednesday.
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The Los Blancos are hopeful about an agreement before the summer transfer window closes on 31 August, considering Mbappe has already said no to a new deal with PSG, despite the French side offering him a massive pay raise and also an option of a sixth year at the club.
PSG was optimistic about Mbappe’s future at the club after ex-Barcelona captain Lionel Messi joined him in Paris, but even the Argentine superstar’s arrival has not made Mbappe change his mind.
Messi, who joined PSG after his shock exit from Barca earlier this month, spoke about his excitement to team up with Mbappe and his good friend Neymar during his first press conference in France’s capital city.
“To play with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe is really crazy and I am really happy about that”, Messi had said at the time.
But Messi’s dream of playing alongside Mbappe has been destroyed by the Frenchman.
Meanwhile, Madrid has been eyeing Mbappe ever since he arrived at the Parc des Princes in 2018 and Mbappe’s rejection of PSG’s latest offer, his third in the last few months, has intensified their efforts to secure his place in the Spanish capital.
Even though Mbappe’s current contract with PSG expires next season, Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, who rates the 22-year-old extremely highly, is keen to have him on his team this September.
Yet, Perez and his management would have to raise the bid to a staggering $235 million to have any chance whatsoever if they wish to close the deal, French media outlets said.
This is not the first time Madrid has come close to signing Mbappe. Mbappe tried out at the Bernabeu as a 13-year-old and was also snapped with his childhood-idol Cristiano Ronaldo in 2012. In 2018, Mbappe was on the verge of signing for Real Madrid before opting for the French club instead.
After their initial reluctance to sell Mbappe, whom Mauricio Pochettino had described as a “PSG player” only last week, the Parisians are now willing to negotiate his transfer to another club.
Just like any other side, Madrid’s finances have taken a hit from the COVID pandemic, but due to Perez’s smart financial planning in recent years, the club’s debt has fallen from $282 million in 2019-2020 to $54 million. Moreover, Madrid posted a net profit of $1.26 million in 2020-21.
That’s probably the reason, Perez thinks Madrid is in the right position to seal a deal for Mbappe before the conclusion of the transfer window next Tuesday.