Kylian Mbappe has turned down the chance to join Real Madrid and will stay at Paris Saint-Germain after agreeing a new three-year contract.
Although Mbappe has not formally signed the deal an announcement is imminent and could be made following PSG’s final game of the season against Metz on Saturday evening.
Telegraph Sport revealed last month that PSG were increasingly confident that Mbappe, who is otherwise available as a free agent at the end of this campaign, would stay after holding talks with his mother, Fayza Lamaeri, who is also his representative, in Doha.
Mbappe was also in the capital of Qatar earlier this week as part of a brief tour with PSG and the indications after that were that he was leaning towards staying.
The decision is a huge blow to Real and to their president Florentino Perez especially after also missing out on Erling Haaland who has agreed to join Manchester City.
Sources at Real have been briefing for months that Mbappe would be joining the Spanish giants and that there was even an agreement and there were reports, again, earlier this week that the deal was done. However Mbappe only informed Real and PSG of his decision on Saturday. Personal terms and fees with both clubs were agreed.
There was disbelief in Madrid at the decision with the club believing that Mbappe was determined to play for them. He tried to force his way out of PSG last summer when Real bid €180 million but the offer was turned down even though it meant risking losing him for free.
PSG have continued to talk to Mbappe about staying and also about planned changes to the club as they attempt to finalise realise their ambition of winning the Champions League.
Ironically PSG were knocked out of this year’s competition by Real with the Madrid fans cheering Mbappe’s name at the Bernabeu which will embarrass Perez. The nature of that defeat made PSG even more determined to try to hold on to Mbappe.
Given Real will feel betrayed by the decision it will be interesting to see how Mbappe handles the announcement. If it is taken badly it will diminish the 23-year-old’s chance of ever playing for Real, something he has previously said he dreamt of doing as a boy.
However it is actually the third time Mbappe has turned down Real having opted against joining them when he was 14, and was shown around by Zinedine Zidane – who PSG want as their next coach – when he came to leave Monaco in 2017.
The announcement will hurt Real ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool with the game, of course, taking place in Paris. PSG will see it as a show of strength that they have managed to persuade Mbappe to stay.
Once they have signed up Mbappe PSG will turn their attention to overhauling their underperforming squad and also probably replacing sporting director Leonardo. PSG have shown interest in Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta – who it appears would be their preferred choice - and also in Michael Edwards who recently left Liverpool.
The club had also hoped that Manchester United would hire their head coach Mauricio Pochettino, which would have saved them having to pay up to €20m in compensation to him and his staff. Pochettino has one more year left on his contract and PSG, ideally, want Zidane to replace him.
However Pochettino does enjoy a good relationship with Mbappe and if a suitable replacement is not found he could remain although given how low his stock has fallen at PSG, despite winning back the French title, that would be uncomfortable.