The Saudi football club Al-Hilal has put in a record $300 million bid for the Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé. The French club is looking to sell the 24 year-old star this summer before his contract lapses next year. Al-Hilal is reportedly willing to pay Mbappé €200 million for a one-season stay, with commercial and image rights pushing his annual income closer to €700 million.
It would be the latest instance of a player leaving a more established European club for the fast-growing Saudi league, to which Cristiano Ronaldo and N’Golo Kanté have gravitated from English clubs as their contracts expired.
The transfer of Mbappé from the Qatar-owned PSG to the Saudi Professional League would raise the ambition and cost of a multibillion-dollar sportswashing race in the Gulf, funded by oil and willingly enabled by the world’s best golfers and footballers. Who’s next? Skiers? Don’t bet against it. Riyadh is planning an entirely artificial ski resort as part of its Neom development in Saudi Arabia’s northwestern highlands.
Photograph Aurelien Meunier/PSG via Getty Images