The Kylian Mbappé transfer saga domino effect that will impact both Spurs and Man Utd

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Kylian Mbappé could finally be leaving PSG - but the summer’s latest blockbuster transfer saga will touch a lot of teams, including Spurs and Manchester United.

It’s a dance we’ve seen before – the same tip-toeing steps taken, the same twists and twirls, the same meaningful glances cast across the floor. This is the same high-stakes, low-tempo tango that played out in 2022, the last time Kylian Mbappé used his clout and the threat of refusal to sign a new contract to engineer a healthy pay-rise at Paris Saint-Germain.

This time, Mbappé has supposedly told PSG that he will not extend his current deal – which expires at the end of the 2023/24 season, albeit with an option to extend for a year in the player’s favour – and that very public determination has pulled a key lodestone out from under the Parisian club’s house of cards.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The immediate response from PSG has been a refusal to take Mbappé’s lead. Last time out, he waited until the eleventh hour and until the threat of Real Madrid taking him on a free transfer became as real as possible before signing a new deal which included a reported €160m signing-on fee and a basic wage of around €6m per month. Now, just a year after that debacle played out, the Frenchman is starting the dance afresh – but PSG would simply prefer to sell. This tango, like any other, takes two to get going.

AFP via Getty Images

Whether Mbappé is simply fishing for another lucrative extension or whether he really has grown tired of being the poster boy for a project which seems unable to reach its stated ambition – to win the Champions League – is unclear, but despite his own prompt social media response stating that he has no intention of leaving (“this season”), he may not be given the choice. PSG will want serious money, but they do not plan on allowing their most valuable asset go for free. Even their Qatari owners’ loose attitude towards spending has its limits.

The transfer saga itself will likely rumble on all summer, tediously overshadowing all other football business beneath it – but however it plays out, it will have a major domino effect on the European transfer market, and the ripples will touch Madrid, Manchester, London and Paris itself.

The Kane conundrum

The biggest loser may well be Harry Kane. Supposedly Real Madrid’s prime target after the Jude Bellingham transfer was completed, his chances of being the latest galáctico to tread the turf of the Bernabeu become slim if PSG are sincere about selling Mbappé.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Real have made no secret of their desire to sign the Frenchman – they have publicly courted him for several years. Supposedly the big boardroom battle playing out in the Spanish capital had been whether to sign Kane this summer – coach Carlo Ancelotti’s alleged preference – or to wait for Mbappé. If PSG have tired of his games, Real will not hesitate to seize their chance.

Getty Images

With Daniel Levy less than keen to negotiate with rival Premier League clubs, that may narrow Kane’s options – with PSG perhaps the most likely of Europe’s remaining superclubs to try their hand. But this particular transfer will take time, especially if Mbappé really is only trying to wheedle another colossal signing bonus out of his pecunious employers. Any move for Kane will be on hold until this has played out.

The same will be true with Manchester United – with their coffers likely to be buoyed by either Sir Jim Radcliffe or Sheikh Jassim’s billions, and the desire to make a big statement signing, they could easily have their head turned away from the England captain. Aside from Real, they are probably the only club in Europe who have both the clout and the cash to make a move for Mbappé happen – at least if the protracted takeover ever takes place. The list of clubs that can afford Kane is much the same as the list of clubs that could make a move for Mbappé – and the Frenchman will be the priority, by virtue of age and marketability if nothing else.

The Kane saga was already looking liable to drag out painfully over the course of the next two months – and its time spinning round on the rumour mill will almost certainly be extended indefinitely by Mbappé.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Problems in Paris

For Paris, things are unravelling rapidly. They went into this past season with a frontline of Mbappé, Neymar and Lionel Messi – a strikeforce unmatched, and unmatchable, in world football. Now Messi is gone, Neymar wants to leave after fans threatened him outside his home, and their figurehead is making eyes elsewhere. They could lose the entire front line, the centrepiece of their extravagant vanity project, in one fell swoop.

AFP via Getty Images

It doesn’t matter how much money they get for Mbappé, or for Neymar if he leaves as well – they cannot replace three strikers of that quality. They will be weaker for it, and this was a team that was already short of its stated aim of European domination. Not only will their squad inevitably be worse next season, regardless of who the replacements may be, they will lose much of their marketing clout at the same time.

Messi, Mbappé and Neymar are the face of football for millions of fans around the world. Their gathering in one place raised that club into the firmament, and sent their profile into the stratosphere. Even the superb strikers with which they’ve been linked – Kane, Randal Kolo Muani, Victor Osimhen – cannot replicate the international clout of their forebears. The shine will be taken off the piece.

Of course, for many fans, the shine wore pretty thin a while ago. Their “project” – a rotating cast of famous faces managed briefly by a carousel of coaches, each fired as promptly as the next – was always mismanaged and hollow. But at least it sold some shirts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If Mbappé leaves, they will have a chance to take stock – not that there haven’t been plenty of those before – and wonder why they seem to always lag that significant step behind the other superclubs of the world. Perhaps they will learn a few lessons – but whether they do or not, they are entering a major rebuild that was not planned for in the slightest, and could see their biggest names off to clubs who will steal that sparkle from them.

Perhaps, if they do let Mbappé go for good, they will refuse to sell Neymar, to retain what they can of their lustre. Perhaps it scotches the chances that he plays in Manchester or Newcastle next season, or even in Saudi Arabia – but after the treatment the Brazilian has been subjected to by his own fans in Paris, it is doubtful that he would be happy to continue even if he would, finally, be the star attraction again at last.

The Real deal

Of course, the other club heavily involved in the whole affair is his most likely destination – whether it be this year, the next, or at some unknown point far down the line. Real Madrid are engaged in their own enormously expensive rebuilding project, a third age of the galácticos, and there is only one hole left to fill in their attacking line-up – the central striker.

Getty Images

Jude Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni make up the pricey and lavishly-talented midfield. Rodrygo and Vinícius Junior are in place up front. All they need is the star striker to cap off a superteam which could stand for the better part of a decade – and at just 24 years old, Mbappé would be the perfect fit for the project.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Florentino Pérez desperately wants him to come to the Bernabeu. Real’s president is football’s ultimate magpie, and Mbappé is the shiniest object in the global game. It would be hard to imagine how many teams could ever handle an opposition blessed with such extraordinary strength in its starting eleven. If – if – Mbappé is shopped out of Paris this season, it seems certain that Real would be the first in the queue, and the Frenchman has made it incredibly clear that he wants to wear the white of Spain’s most successful side one day.

Presumably, they can slide enough economic levers into place to make it happen – and it’s hard to imagine how good they would become if it comes to pass. Well, they’d need to find some depth in defence, admittedly – anathema to Pérez in the past. But they would have a frankly ridiculous squad to play with, and everyone else would be playing catch-up to some degree.

We want your feedback on 3 Added Minutes - details here

Of course, there’s one final loser in this farrago – all of the rest of us. It’s a titanic story that will bestride so much perfectly good discourse, and will drown out so many other voices. And it won’t be over quickly. Let’s just hunker down and wait for it all to blow over.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.