The autumn rains arrive in Paris and Kylian Mbappé leaves behind the last market in which his fate was not completely in his hands. Three months after being released from the contract that joins him to Paris Saint-Germain, the most emblematic player in France, the great aspirant to inherit the throne of Pelé and the Ballons d’Or series that corresponded to Messi and Cristiano, will receive this Tuesday the Manchester City in the Champions League in a match that will mark one of the milestones on the lonely path that leads to the decision that will transform his career. Renew for PSG, which has offered him two more seasons for a net 200 million euros; or to break with the club in his city and sign for whoever pays him a transfer bonus that his lawyers calculate around 140 million euros, in addition to his salary.
The second route will gain strength to the extent that Mbappé feels that the arrival of Lionel Messi, Neymar’s good friend and inevitable accomplice of captain Marquinhos and coach Mauricio Pochettino, has transformed PSG into a strange ecosystem for him. As the newspaper says L’Equipe in its edition this Monday, the staff has been “Latin Americanized”. It is not a question of language, since Mbappé speaks Spanish perfectly, but of codes of hierarchy and coexistence.
The cameras of Canal + recorded this Saturday the last exhibition of a disagreement. Hardly substituted in the match against Montpellier (2-0) at the Parc des Princes, the French striker sat on the bench pointing out his tiredness to his colleague Gueye. “Ce clochard, il ne me fait pas la pasa“He said,” this beggar won’t pass the ball to me, “referring to Neymar.
The incident was striking in a footballer who takes care of each public appearance with the prudence of a foreign minister and is fully aware that, while he is on the field, the cameras follow him without pause. Mbappé and Neymar have so many qualities to connect on a playing field that the disconnection, if it occurs, is spectacular.
It is nothing new. Despite the club’s efforts to present its two stars as sports brothers in successive advertising campaigns that, according to PSG sources, are correspondingly paid by Qatar, their football relationship has always been more discontinuous than normal.
The problem dates back to 2017 and is now being reproduced with more force at a time when Mbappé has acquired a power and a prestige that are beginning to elevate him over his partner. As against Bruges and Lyon, against Montpellier Mbappé and Neymar reproduced their old repertoire of disagreements and lack of harmony on the field of play. Bad sign for PSG, which for weeks has started with Wilfred, Mbappé’s father and his lawyers, a round of contacts to try to renew it. The operation includes gestures of institutional affection, such as the one shown by President Nasser Al-Khelaifi and the sports director, Leonardo de Araujo, during their visit to the training ground on Monday morning.
Mbappé wants 140 million transfer bonus
According to sources close to the footballer, Leonardo and Al-Khelaifi have personally acknowledged to Mbappé that his situation in the market has changed, that his value has increased, and that the club is willing to honor him in consideration of his new status. As if it were a free footballer. First, by paying him annual amounts that, for all concepts, advertising and purely salary, would be around 50 million euros net, more than what Neymar charges. Second, guaranteeing him a transfer premium of 100 million euros net in two installments, once Messi’s contract ends in 2023.
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Mbappé’s father is flattered that the club showed him that he preferred to lose the 180 million euros from Real Madrid’s offer in order to retain his son for one more year in the squad. But his lawyers, according to the same sources, continue to insist that PSG, if it wishes to renew its client, must include in the contract a termination clause, an unusual formula in France, which allows it to release him in the event of certain offers. from abroad. To this claim, which the Qatari owners of PSG have known through intermediaries, Al-Khelaifi has always refused. The absence of a release clause in the contracts they offer him is the first reason for Mbappé’s refusal to renew for PSG. His advisers fear that, after the World Cup in Qatar in December 2022, PSG will start a divestment process that limits the team’s competitive capacity, turning its client into a kind of luxury hostage.
His advisers advised Mbappé, 22, never to speak publicly about his desire to leave PSG. In addition to the obvious image policy reasons involved in the management of a figure of national importance in France, they believe that it should wait until January 2023 to collect a transfer bonus that would otherwise have been paid exclusively by the Paris club. The price of the agreed premium is 140 million euros, 50% of its appraised value, calculated at 280 million euros by various specialized companies.
In PSG it is known that, in addition to Madrid, who made an extra effort to show his interest, the footballer’s father heard offers from Liverpool, Manchester United and Juventus. And that he said the same to everyone on behalf of his son: that he would be delighted to put on his shirts, but that they had to go to PSG or wait for January, because then, if he did not renew, he would go on the market.
“We are a special club”
“We are a special club and special situations are created here that must be understood,” said Mauricio Pochettino, the PSG coach, on Monday when asked about the conflict between his figures and the constant pressure that the institution supports. “Kylian and Neymar are fantastic guys. These things happen among great players. They are competitors, they are people who want to win, help the team, score goals. Today I was talking to them individually and they also talked to each other and laughed at the images on television. As much as there are these small frictions, and as much as an expansive wave is sometimes created that makes a lot of noise outside, within the group this does not mean anything “.
So far this season Mbappé has scored four goals, all in Ligue 1, over eight games. None to pass from Neymar, the best assistant on the team and, probably, on the planet. Statistics are relevant. The best games of the PGS in the Champions League usually occur when there is harmony between Neymar and Mbappé in the last meters.
The game that this Tuesday will face PSG with Manchester City in the Champions League will concentrate another laboratory. In the field of football, the terrain that can most influence the decision that will mark his career, Mbappé will once again try to experiment with Messi and Neymar, looking for signs that allow him to conclude if his destiny is in Paris or elsewhere.