Inside Spain: Reaction to Kylian Mbappe announcement and Barcelona manager updates

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Inside Spain is a weekly instalment brought to you by Football España, providing an insight into all of the major stories coming out of the rich and intense climes of La Liga and beyond. Warning: this article discusses a rape trial.

Ever get the feeling something is about to go your way, but you don’t want to jynx it or start your celebrating too soon? That feels like the atmosphere in the Spanish capital, after Paris Saint-Germain confirmed to the press that Kylian Mbappe would be leaving the club.

While it had been reported that he had decided to leave PSG several weeks ago, Mbappe telling Nasser Al-Khelaifi that he would not be extending his contract was the decisive step for Real Madrid to get involved. It’d be easy to think this is a done deal, and it almost certainly will, but the word is that only now will Florentino Perez make a formal offer.

Although they have been in touch in recent weeks, and no doubt figures have been mentioned, it appears negotiations have not taken place. Nevertheless, Aurelien Tchouameni said that Mbappe was a big topic in the dressing room, and internally they will be delighted – well, perhaps not everyone.

Meanwhile the Mbappe news has taken attention away from Barcelona’s managerial hunt. The sum of the past week is that as things stand, Hansi Flick and Brighton’s Roberto de Zerbi are the top two candidates, with Thomas Tuchel perhaps a wildcard option if he leaves Bayern Munich, in every sense of the world. De Zerbi is well-liked, but his release clause (rumoured to be between €12-15m) is a major obstacle for Barcelona, leaving Flick at the top of the leaderboard.

There is plenty of uncertainty at Can Barca though, with both Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo set for contract talks in the coming months. If they do not agree to extend, both could be in the shop window this summer.

Elsewhere, it might have been heartbreak in Paris on Valentine’s Day for Real Sociedad, but the good news is that Takefusa Kubo has renewed his deal until 2029, after interest from Saudi Arabia and Liverpool in January. Romance wasn’t dead everywhere though, as Memphis Depay gave one of his teammates a giant ring on the same day.

Rayo Vallecano sacked Francisco to bring in ex-Andoni Iraola assistant Inigo Perez. He was due to head to Bournemouth with Iraola, but was denied a work permit due to changes in the Brexit laws. Oh, and Almeria still have not won a game after 24 matchdays, grazing the bar in the last minute against Athletic Club on Monday at 0-0 – water remains wet.



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