Five things need to happen before Mbappe joins Real Madrid

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe to Madrid after nearly three years, two near-misses, and at least one public passive-aggressive statement. His threat not to extend his Paris Saint-Germain contract at the end of the 2023-24 season has succeeded. Several outlets, including ESPN, Le Parisien, and Fabrizio Romano, report that Mbappe desires to call Santiago Bernabeu his home from next season. This news delights Los Blancos, as they are acquiring one of the world’s best players, who might become an all-time great. Despite the drama, this player is PSG’s all-time top goal scorer, the France captain, and only the second player to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final.

Mbappe’s move to Madrid might also benefit PSG. By agreeing to depart on good terms and pledging to ensure that his hometown team receives some financial compensation for his departure, Mbappe has managed the potential PR disaster reasonably well. He has performed very well this season and could leave Paris with at least one more trophy to his name. If this is a farewell tour, it is a commendable one.

However, the Mbappe saga is not quite over. Past events have shown that he is not necessarily the most predictable presence in the world game, and any number of things could go wrong between now and July. Absportz is examining the necessary hurdles that need clearing to ensure this saga finally ends this summer.

1 Mbappe must inform PSG

Mbappe with Naseer Al-Khelaifi

Mbappe has been coy about this whole thing for months now, about his future destination. But he did come close to revealing that he has an exit route, acknowledging in January that he has “an agreement” with Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Kind of vague sentiment that Mbappe has lived off for years now, but given the circumstances, it stands as perhaps the biggest hint he has dropped yet. Mbappe is set to stay until the end of the campaign, and he can exit the club on reasonable terms. This whole thing seems poised to be rather amicable – as long as he communicates his decision under the terms of whatever agreement might be in place.

2 Madrid’s must move some money around

Florentino Perez president of Real Madrid

Contrary to popular belief, Real Madrid is not made of money. Yes, they generate the most revenue out of any club in the world. Yes, La Liga’s financial rules have granted them the most room for player investment. A cool €728 million (£623/$782m). They were able to spend big on Jude Bellingham and Endrick over the past year or so

But they also exercise financial prudence. There have been some expensive flops in the past. But in recent years, President Florentino Perez has been cautious in the transfer market. And for some players to come in, others will have to leave.

Luka Modric, for one, certainly appears to be in the twilight of his career. The Croatia midfielder has seen his minutes managed for almost three seasons. At 38, it makes little sense for him to stay at the club for another year. That would clear a reasonable €22m (£19m/$24m) from Madrid’s wage bill.

Lucas Vazquez (€9m(£7.7m/$9.7m)), and perhaps Nacho (€8.5m(£7.3m/$9.1m)) could also depart. Madrid faces a decision over Toni Kroos’ future, whose form could force them into offering the German another deal.

Even if Kroos stays, Madrid is likely to have over €30m to put towards Mbappe’s contract. That won’t be close to enough to meet his full demands, but it will certainly help.

3 Mbappe must waive his loyalty bonus for Mbappe to Madrid

Mbappe for France

The Athletic reported that Mbappe’s contract, which is complex and has never been fully disclosed to the public, earned him €200m in the 2022-23 season alone. PSG disclosed a base salary of €72m for their star player. The activation of additional clauses is expected to significantly increase this amount.

One such extra fee is the well-publicized loyalty bonus that Mbappe accrued upon his renewal with the club in 2022. That clause, renewable every year, guarantees the French forward €80m (£69m/$86m) for every year he stays at the club. It’s an immense fee, the kind that has seldom been seen in world football before.

How PSG will financially compensate for Mbappe’s exit is unknown, but he will certainly have to waive the extra chunk of cash he was set to receive from the club if he wishes to depart. That fee won’t account for his value alone, but it will certainly allow the Parisians to save some cash for buying replacements.

What can you offer a player who has already rejected unimaginable wealth from Saudi Arabia?

Madrid certainly won’t match that figure, or even come close, to lure Mbappe to Real Madrid. In all likelihood, they won’t even be able to match Mbappe’s current salary. However, they are already preparing a handsome signing-on bonus for their newest free agent signing, and they will surely have to make Mbappe their highest earner.

Two years ago, Mbappe desired full control of his brand at PSG but never received it. Reportedly, Madrid was willing to offer a greater share at the time, and those fine margins could sweeten whatever package Madrid could put together.

5 Ancelotti’s sign-off

As ludicrous as it may sound, the manager still wields influence here. This season could be one of Carlo Ancelotti’s finest achievements. Heading into the campaign, his Madrid squad seems to be markedly unbalanced with an excess of central midfielders and a lack of a true No. 9. Additionally, they’ve endured the loss of three key players to ACL injuries over the past six months. While most teams would struggle, Ancelotti has managed to create something extraordinary.

Madrid employs a formation with four central midfielders, seamlessly transitioning between a 4-4-2, 4-2-2-2, and 4-3-1-2. Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo have emerged as impactful split strikers, while Bellingham thrives as a world-class false nine. Mbappe, it seems, doesn’t quite fit the current system. He’s been vocal about his preference to play as a left-winger or alongside a dominant center-forward. Yet, Madrid already has a top-tier left winger in Vinicius, and the aging Joselu isn’t likely the strike partner he envisioned.

Thus, Ancelotti must tread carefully. While Mbappe undoubtedly brings value, fitting him into the squad will mean sacrifices elsewhere. Will the manager revert to a midfield trio, keeping Rodrygo and Vinicius in the lineup? This could mean pushing Mbappe into a central striking role, potentially underutilizing Bellingham in a deeper position. On the other hand, deploying Mbappe on the left would entail shifting Vinicius from his most effective position.

Mbappe to Madrid,Mbappe holds the potential to be a disruptive force for Madrid, and Ancelotti must be prepared to make adjustments to ensure this deal reaches fruition.

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