Exclusive Ben Jacobs column: Mbappe Saudi transfer’s dangerous precedent, Chelsea close to agreement with Arsenal target & more

Posted by

Hello and welcome to my weekly column for CaughtOffside – click here to subscribe for more from myself, Fabrizio Romano, Christian Falk, Jonathan Johnson and Neil Jones!

Kylian Mbappe’s potential Saudi transfer could set a dangerous precedent

Kylian Mbappe is very much for sale and that won’t change unless he signs a new PSG deal, which is obviously not looking likely.

Al-Hilal have placed a world-record €300m offer. PSG haven’t legally accepted it just yet but are willing to if Mbappe indicates he is prepared to join the Saudi club. For now they have given him permission to speak. And at the time of writing, Mbappe hasn’t yet started any official talks. He is set to be offered a €700m salary.

It’s a one-year proposal, as exclusively revealed, allowing Mbappe to still join Real Madrid on a free transfer in 2024. That said, Al-Hilal will offer Mbappe the option to extend just in case he changes his mind.

This is what PSG are playing on. They feel that trust is at an all-time low between Mbappe and Florentino Perez following the French striker’s last PSG extension when he failed to join Real.

Kylian Mbappe with the French national team

Real could just wait a year, but PSG hope they feel compelled to move now. Should they do so the fee wouldn’t be anywhere near €300m.

PSG are willing to listen to any offers, including player-swap deals. They have had enquiries from several clubs including Manchester United, Spurs, Inter Milan and even Barcelona. This shouldn’t be confused with active negotiations or bids, though. Chelsea have also been linked, but any Mbappe pursuit has been downplayed by sources.

PODCAST: Inside the Kylian Mbappe Saga

Everyone knows Mbappe wants Real, even PSG, who fear an agreement for 2024 is already in place. But perhaps the Saudi bid is a compromise to get PSG a fee now, provide exposure to the Saudi Pro League and still allow Real to get their top target on a free next summer. It’s a lot of money to spend, though, knowing Mbappe would only go for a season, and perhaps sets a dangerous precedent if other top stars know they can go to Saudi for short and lucrative stays.

Ultimately everything comes down to Mbappe now. Saudi dealmakers have offered something truly astronomical but they need Mbappe’s buy-in to move forward.

Bayern Munich preparing third Harry Kane bid and PSG are also interested

Tottenham still remain relatively calm about the Harry Kane situation, but that will change if the player directly tells them he wants to leave.

Daniel Levy is still hoping Kane extends. Ange Postecoglou has accepted it’s not an ideal situation but he is still planning for the forthcoming season with Kane. There’s not much else he can do amidst the uncertainty.

Bayern are pushing. They haven’t been given a specific price yet by Levy. However, they are preparing a third bid worth close to €100m. Once this lands, Kane is expected to be more clear with all parties in communicating his wishes and from there clarity should come quite fast.

Spurs have always indicated they will reject any offers for Kane, but Bayern are prepared to test that resolve.

PSG are also interested in Kane, and would gladly send Mbappe the other way if he doesn’t extend. However, it is not though Kane is particularly sold on PSG despite the links. Levy and Nasser Al-Khelaifi do have an excellent relationship, though.

Manchester United are not actively pursuing Kane any more. They explored the move earlier in the window and had low confidence Levy would sell to a Premier League rival. Their focus for now is on Rasmus Hojlund, who they are expected to formally bid for this week. Manchester United are hoping a deal is possible for €60-65m. Atlanta’s €100m asking price is not realistic. Any deal is expected to be done for much less.

Manchester United would obviously love Kane (he was their top target heading into this window), but they simply aren’t back in the race right now and that won’t change unless given clear and direct encouragement from Spurs they aren’t wasting their time.

Next Page
Page 1 of 2
Prev Page
More Stories Ben Jacobs Gabri Veiga Hakim Ziyech Harry Kane Kylian Mbappe Mohammed Kudus Rasmus Hojlund Sadio Mane