Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and Kylian Mbappé during a press conference, May 23, 2022. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
After long weeks of uncertainty, Paris Saint-Germain are moving forward. The capital club formalized the arrival of its first summer recruits, Slovak defender Milan Skriniar and Spanish attacking midfielder Marco Asensio, on Thursday July 6, a day after presenting its new coach, Luis Enrique. Before the Spaniard’s first words at a press conference on Wednesday, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi took the floor to reveal the outlines of the new project, and said: “We want an attacking style. »
The president of PSG has combined words with deeds when discussing publicly, for the very first time, the future of Kylian Mbappé. “If Kylian wants to stay, we want him to stay. But he has to sign a new contract., launched Al-Khelaïfi. The striker is currently far from Paris, seen on vacation in Miami and expected today in Cameroon, the country of his father. He will not be back in training for ten days, after having extended his end of season with the France team in June.
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The new official coach, the future of Mbappé is now the priority file of PSG. In June, the captain of the Blues sent a letter to his leaders to announce that he would not activate the one-year extension clause present in his contract, which will therefore end in June 2024. Paris could lose their best player, bought 180 million euros in 2017, without touching a single penny in the case.
For several weeks, Al-Khelaïfi has been in an uncomfortable position. When Mbappé signed his new contract to great fanfare in May 2022, the striker posed in a flocked shirt « 2025 ». PSG leaders expected Mbappé to activate said clause. Scalded by the letter sent by his player, Al-Khelaïfi was therefore firm on Wednesday: “He has to decide quickly. Next week, within ten days at the latest… maximum within two weeks. »
Until then, the two camps crossed swords in the shadows, no one speaking officially on the issue – even though the Mbappé clan and the entourage of the president of PSG reported severe differences. During this first speech, Nasser Al-Khelaïfa gave an ultimatum: “If he doesn’t want to sign, the door is open. »
According to the club, Mbappé promised not to leave PSG free
This statement could speed things up as the question of Mbappé’s future had been put to sleep since he left on vacation. Mbappé does not want to sign a new contract and « [son] objective is to continue at PSG”as he claimed ahead of France’s game against Gibraltar in June, before adding: “It’s my only option at the moment so I’m ready to come back for the resumption. »
Few are the contenders to be able to afford Mbappé this summer: Chelsea and Liverpool lack sporting guarantees because they will not play in the Champions League next season and Saudi Arabia, which is buying the big players with a vengeance and millions, is not a possible sporting destination for Mbappé, who wants to win the C1.
Real Madrid, which the prodigy of Bondy has always dreamed of, could come forward… or wait another year to recover the Parisian for free. In the coming weeks, the image battle between PSG and Mbappé should continue. Yesterday, Al-Khelaïfi questioned the word of his player: “He said he would never go free. If he changes his mind today, it’s not my fault. »
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Words reminiscent of those of Leonardo, the former sporting director of PSG, in August 2021, when the future of Mbappé was already stirring behind the scenes of the club: “Kylian has always promised that he will not leave the club free. » A commitment that Mbappé has never made publicly. If the 2018 world champion were to stay in Paris for the 2023-2024 season, Luis Enrique will have to deal with him knowing that he will have to leave.
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The new coach has carefully kicked in touch when discussing the Mbappé case. At the end of 2018, Paris had placed Adrien Rabiot away from the professional group, because he refused to extend his contract which was to end in June 2019. The midfielder had not played for six months before committing to the Juventus. Not seeing Mbappé play as the season ends with Euro 2024 and the Olympics seems highly unlikely. Whether Mbappé continues his career in Paris or elsewhere, the outcome is approaching after the reframing of Al-Khelaïfi.