The Paris Saint-Germain president made his first public statement about the future of the team’s best player at the unveiling of yet another new coach. He was unambiguous and left little room for compromise.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi told reporters gathered to hear the first announcement from ostensibly new manager, the Spaniard Luis Enrique, that PSG and France’s star player Kylian Mbappe will join the team this summer. He said he would have to sign a new contract or leave. After Mbappe declared last month that he still wants to move beyond next season, ask what the club plans to do about the uncertainty he has created.
Such a scenario would leave the club in the enviable position of losing a player who invested more than $500 million in transfer fees, bonuses and salaries without compensation. That is what Col. Al-Khelaifi said was not allowed to happen.
“We do not want him to leave for free in 2024,” Al-Khelaifi said.
“Our position is clear,” he continued. “If Kylian wants to stay, we want him to stay, but he needs to sign a new contract.
“We don’t want to lose the best player in the world for free. It’s impossible.”
And that was it. As Al-Khelaifi rose to leave the raised podium he shared with Enrique, he told the assembled press that he hoped they would get what they wanted. The new coach declined to say whether he expects Mbappe to be in Paris when the new season starts this summer.
What is clear is that the fate of the place where Mbappe plays, for the second summer in a row, will prove he is now a serious contender for football’s biggest prize money, instead of returning to the front lines of one of football’s biggest conspiracies. It means that it will cast a shadow on PSG’s efforts to do so.
Enrique, who recently coached the Spanish national team, arrived Wednesday and is tasked with bringing order to the club, which has been marked by chaos in recent seasons. Just this week, Christophe Galtier, who arrived last summer, became the latest PSG manager to be shown the door before his contract expired.
Not since Qatar Sports Investments bought PSG almost a decade ago have they invested so much in talent. Few top clubs have had so many managers, and even fewer have wasted so much time and money trying to find the identity and style that underpins their greatness.
Last summer, PSG persuaded Mbappe to sign a new deal rather than sign for Real Madrid, the Spanish superclub he had long dreamed of playing for. PSG wanted to build a new model with Mbappe as the centerpiece of a group of mostly young, mostly French talent. Without him, the master plan would have had to be rethought.
Al-Khelaifi then became even more violent. Speaking to local media, he said Mbappe had “up to two weeks” to decide whether to sign a new contract. He said the club would not allow such a valuable asset to be given away for free within 12 months. Al-Khelaifi has said Mbappe may decide to stay and the club cannot control his fate.
Al-Khelaifi said it was unthinkable and that Mbappe would be breaking some kind of unwritten rule by doing something the best players in the world would never do. He noted that PSG signed Argentine great Lionel Messi as a free agent just two summers ago when Barcelona, the team he played for his entire career, could no longer afford to keep him. I didn’t.
“If he doesn’t want to sign, the door is open,” Al-Khelaifi said.
The club have privately exchanged letters with the management team led by Mbappe’s mother, Faiza Ramali. The latest three-page letter this week expressed disappointment with Mbappe’s position and reminded the player and his family how much PSG invested in him since he was a teenager.
When signing the deal, Mbappe was granted unusual influence over the club’s operations, including a say in hiring players alongside himself. The club’s letter expressing its request for an emergency meeting acknowledged that the club had not been able to meet all the requirements for reinforcements, but that it had done all it could given the restrictions imposed by European countries, The same was written. Rules for football spending.
PSG will resume training on July 10, while Mbappe and the other players who played for the national team in June are due to return on July 17. The club wants to make sure by then whether he will comply with the request to sign a new contract. Even though that doesn’t make him less likely to leave next summer, the company hopes it will. PSG will be able to recoup the fee if they sign a new contract after the end of next season. Shortly after signing his current contract last summer, Mbappe said in an interview with The New York Times that he didn’t feel right leaving the club as a free agent.
In the rare world Mbappe lives in, given both his talent and his income potential, the pool of clubs he can sign is shallow and could in fact be limited to one, Real Madrid. I have.
The club are looking for a strong forward after losing veteran striker Karim Benzema to a football land grab in Saudi Arabia, and Mbappe has said he will one day play there. In order to have star players, clubs need to convince PSG to make offers for players they know will be available for free next year. So far, the company has been tight-lipped about its plans.
In representing his son, Ramali has gained experience in getting the best possible deal. Last summer, with her Real Madrid deal on her hands and hints that she was an unlikely suitor to Premier League side Liverpool, she would score a huge new deal. succeeded in Even before his stratospheric new salary was included, he was guaranteed a bonus of over $100 million in re-signing.
PSG have announced that the deal will run until 2025, and Mbappe has even had a jersey with that year printed on it. It was later revealed that his third year was a player-only option.
With face-to-face meetings with club officials over the next few days, Lamari will be back in the limelight. Only then will it become clear whether, as Al-Khelaifi told reporters, “there is no player greater than the club.”