With plenty of cash to spare, Madrid president Florentino Perez had only one objective in mind: Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe tried to force his way out of PSG, but his efforts were fruitless. He would have to wait until he was a free agent to sign for Real Madrid.
The Spanish giants have lacked star power since the departure of all-time scoring leader Cristiano Ronaldo. Former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, signed to be the Portuguese’s replacement, has badly flopped in Spain.
Hazard only has five goals to his name in two-and-a-half seasons for Madrid.
Perez already tried to sign Mbappe when he was a Monaco player, but the young star chose a move to Paris instead.
PSG and Real Madrid fought an intense battle for Mbappe in the summer of 2017. Despite the Frenchman’s Real Madrid obsession, the Paris giants got the upper hand by promising Mbappe a place in their starting eleven.
Mbappe has become an established star at PSG. In 195 games, he has scored 147 goals and given out 76 assists. Already a World Cup champion, the 23-year-old is only lacking one major trophy for his CV: the Champions League.
If he wants to win it this season, he will have to defeat his probable future club. PSG and Real Madrid will be facing each other in the UCL last-16.
It’s sure to be a special game for Mbappe, who has never hidden his desire to play in Madrid.
PSG and Real Madrid were at the centre of a tug of war last summer
After a trophyless season, Real Madrid desperately needed to turn things around with a star signing.
Los Blancos made several bids for Mbappe last summer, but they were all deemed insufficient. Even Madrid’s final offer for the Frenchman, a reported €200m, was rejected by PSG.
Condemning Madrid’s efforts to sign their young star, PSG director of football Leonardo publicly stated that Mbappe would not be sold that summer.
It was a hitherto-unseen power move for the French giants. With Mbappe’s contract set to expire at the end of the following season, PSG’s rejection of Madrid’s offer was basically their way of saying that money wasn’t a problem for them.
Now, PSG’s decision could come back to bite them.
Madrid might block PSG’s attempt to rejuvenate squad
After Mbappe’s departure, PSG will be left with an aging core.
Argentinian stars Leo Messi and Angel Di Maria will be 35 and 34 respectively by the start of next season. Sergio Ramos, who signed a two-year contract with PSG last summer, will turn 36 in a few months.
With his history of injuries, it’s hard to see Neymar Jr, 30 next February, perform at a high level once he is into his mid-thirties.
PSG tried to rejuvenate their team by signing Mauro Icardi in 2019, but his injuries and off-the-pitch shenanigans have made him a candidate to leave the club next summer.
In desperate need of young blood on the attacking end, PSG are expected to make an offer for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. However, they will face a familiar opponent when trying to sign the striker.
Reports linking Haaland to Real Madrid have multiplied in the past few weeks. Since their massive bid for Mbappe last summer was rejected, Los Blancos have an unused transfer war chest to reach a deal with Dortmund.
With Mbappe joining them on a free transfer in July, Real Madrid could use part of the reported €400m available next summer to sign Haaland.
It would be a tough blow for PSG, who could see their best young player depart for free to join forces with the player they have targeted as the ideal replacement.
If Real Madrid manage to complete both signings next summer, PSG and Leonardo are sure going to wish they had a time machine to go back in time and accept Los Blancos’s €200m bid for Mbappe.
Featured image credit: Getty