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Waiting for Kylian

Waiting for Kylian


Kylian Mbappe hasn’t renewed his contract with Paris Saint-Germain. Which means that next summer, one of the best footballers in the world could walk away for free. Will Real Madrid really let that happen?


Hi, I’m Chloe and this is the Playmaker.

One story every day to make sense of the world of football.

Today, why Real Madrid fans will have to wait another year for Kylian Mbappe.

“Welcome back, this is the transfer show for one final hour of this window, and only three hours left until… it all slams shut!”

Sky Sports News

Transfer Deadline Day is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or hate it. 

For some fans, it means endlessly checking social media and watching live coverage. They’re desperate to see who their club has signed as the clock ticks down to midnight on 31 August. 

Others prefer to wait until the next morning for news. They avoid all the hype until it’s all over and the deals are actually complete.

This window has been particularly exciting for anyone who loves following the transfer market. 

Manchester City broke the British transfer record for Jack Grealish. 

Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo changed clubs.

Then, at the last minute, Antoine Griezmann went back to Atlético Madrid.

But one team that have been remarkably quiet during the last two transfer windows is Real Madrid. Their lack of spending is highly unusual for a club who once proudly unveiled a superstar player every single summer. 

And according to reports, they did make a deadline day bid for PSG striker Kylian Mbappe. It’s been an open secret in the world of football for some time now that he would like to join Real Madrid. 

“The strategy to go to Madrid is in place, when he finishes his contract in a year and a half, the plan is then for Real Madrid to, you know, get everything in place for him to go to the Santiago Bernabeu. Not yet, perhaps it won’t be down to the end of his contract, but certainly Real Madrid will try to get him in every window almost, summer window. So they’ll try again, PSG will probably say no, then eventually, they think he’s gonna be a Real Madrid player.” 

Guillem Balague

He hasn’t renewed his contract with PSG. Which means that next summer Mbappe – one of the best footballers in the world – can walk away from PSG for free. 

In actual fact, he can sign with Real Madrid as early as February, that’s ahead of a move to La Liga next season. A pre-contract agreement of this type can be signed once the January transfer window is closed. 

So, why were Real Madrid – a club who have enforced a period of genuine austerity – willing to make an offer of €200 million for a player they can have for free in a year’s time?

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague wrote on Twitter that he believes Florentino Perez knew that his offer would not be accepted by PSG. Balague thinks that the Real Madrid president simply wanted to give the impression of a “financial power that they don’t have.”

And a financial summary provided on Real Madrid’s own website backs this up. They admit they lost €300 million due to the Covid pandemic.

They would probably have recouped that if the controversial European Super League idea had gone ahead. Real Madrid, along with Barcelona and Juventus, are the only three clubs from the original 12 that are still committed to the idea.

“Hang on… if the apocalyptic vision of Spanish football’s condition at the moment, or football in general’s condition at the moment is true, and this has fallen through, then to be honest, you are absolutely (and of course this is a bit rude), you’re in trouble, you know. You’re absolutely ruined. Now, I don’t think that’s entirely true, but it is true that the lasting impact if you like of that interview with Florentino Perez was to reveal in really stark terms, something that they hadn’t revealed before (because of course it wasn’t in their interests to do so) and that is that they are really, really worried about the financial situation they’re in.”

Sid Lowe, ESPN UK

Even so, they’ve managed to reduce the club’s net debt figure from €240 million to €46 million. They say they have €122 million in cash and €534 million in assets. 

To put it simply, this means that Real Madrid are now in a very healthy financial position, certainly much better than their rivals Barcelona.

The latest version of the Deloitte Football Money League says that Real Madrid “will feel well placed to bounce back strongly in future years.”

But what does that mean on the pitch? They’ve sold both of their starting centre backs in Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. They’ve missed out on Mbappe. And they’ve only actually paid a transfer fee for one player this summer. 

But let’s not worry too much about them.

They may be weaker at centre-back but they still have Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard up front.

The Spanish newspaper AS printed a picture of Mbappe in his PSG kit behind bars on its front page on Wednesday morning. He’ll be “released from jail” next summer. 

It can’t be easy for Real supporters, who are used to seeing them spend freely in every transfer window. 

President Florentino Perez may be eccentric, but it seems like he’s been pretty astute in these latest dealings. 

He’s put a marker down, given a show of intent, and probably done enough to keep Real Madrid fans happy. All he has to hope now is that they’ll understand that patience is a virtue, and stick with him until he can land Kylian Mbappe next year. 

And if Florentino Perez fails to get his man? Well, that’s a story worth waiting for as well. 

Today’s episode was written by me, Chloe Beresford, and produced by Klong.