Kylian Mbappe has said he will stay at Paris Saint-Germain, sources told ESPN, in a shock U-turn that sees Real Madrid miss out again on their long-term transfer target.
Mbappe, 23, had been widely expected to move to the Bernabeu this summer, with his PSG contract due to expire on June 30. But after a late change of heart, Mbappe is set to sign a three-year contract with PSG.
Sources added that Mbappe spoke with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to inform him of his decision, as well as communicating it to PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino and to his teammates.
Real Madrid had been in contact with Mbappe’s entourage all season since PSG rejected a series of bids in the region of €200 million for the forward last summer, and sources told ESPN they believed they had the player’s word that he would join them as a free agent.
However, PSG were determined to persuade Mbappe to stay, and sources told ESPN they offered him much-improved terms on a new deal that was more financially attractive than Madrid’s offer in an effort to secure a change of heart.
Both clubs had been confident of winning the battle for the France international, but the lack of confirmation from Mbappe’s camp, as well as his public behaviour and statements in recent weeks, had led to uncertainty on both sides. Sources told ESPN on Friday that there was “nervousness and confusion” at Real Madrid around the Mbappe situation, as well as a growing “pessimism” over completing the high-profile signing.
The club had anticipated PSG’s late bid to change the player’s mind but believed that he would follow through on his commitment to them and resist the pressure he was facing from the French club.
This month, Mbappe was voted Ligue 1’s player of the year for a third time after scoring 25 goals and 17 assists as PSG won the league title. In the Champions League, PSG finished second in their group behind Manchester City before being eliminated by Real Madrid in the round of 16.