We could soon see Lee Kang-in and Kylian Mbappe playing together.
“We had a constructive and positive dialog with Mbappe,” Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) announced on its website on Wednesday. We spoke to him before the game against Lorient and, following the conversation, he has returned to first-team training,” the club announced.
PSG continued, “Mbappe is back and Ousmane Dembele trained with the team for the first time. Both players trained in the presence of President Nasser Al-Khelaifi.” PSG then released a series of photos of PSG players training, including Mbappe, who was pictured with a big smile on his face. One of the photos also showed PSG players eating what is commonly known as an “Indian meal” to welcome Mbappe back to first-team training.
Mbappe was not on good terms with PSG until recently. It started with Mbappe’s comments. As the media explained, Mbappe’s contract with PSG expires next year, and the club’s hierarchy was literally turned upside down when Mbappe said he had no intention of re-signing with the club, let alone exercising his option for a one-year extension. President Al-Khelaifi issued a stern warning to Mbappe to sign a new contract or leave the club this summer, but Mbappe insisted on playing out the remaining one year of his contract.
PSG also believes that Mbappe has already finalized a personal agreement with Real, a club he had previously listed as his dream club. In response, PSG put pressure on Mbappe in every way they could.
In fact, Mbappe was left off the roster for PSG’s preseason tour of Asia and reportedly stayed in France to train with the second team. While the PSG squad traveled to Japan and South Korea, Mbappe stayed behind in Paris to train with the second team. Despite the poor mood and the club’s hardline approach to the situation, which saw him dropped from the tour roster, it was reported at the time that Mbappe was mentally unshaken.
“Mbappe will not return to training despite PSG’s return from tour, according to the UK’s The Athletic. Mbappe has been put up for sale by the club and has been left out of the squad, training separately from his teammates.” “PSG is hoping that the club’s supporters, the Ultras, will be vocal in the opening match against Lorient and put pressure on Mbappe,” said Mario Cortegana of the same outlet.
Mbappe’s situation has also affected the mood at PSG. Fabrice Hawkins of French outlet RMC Sport, who is well versed in PSG’s inner workings, reported during the team’s tour of Japan that “Mbappe was left off the Asia tour roster after refusing to extend his contract, which created a bad atmosphere in the squad. The mood at PSG is not light at the moment. According to club officials, the players are unable to let go of the situation and stay together. This atmosphere is not conducive to team life. Will the mood suddenly improve while Mbappe’s case remains unresolved? We will find out in the next few days.”
In the meantime, the rest of the PSG squad was wondering what attitude they should adopt. “The mood of the PSG players in Japan is not good,” says Hawkins. According to my contacts in the squad, the players are torn between wanting to support their teammates and being leaders. The Parisians don’t know what position to take on the incident.”
Following the news that PSG were selling Mbappe, a number of clubs approached and were linked with the player. According to multiple local media outlets, Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal offered Paris Saint-Germain €300 million (approximately $438.2 million) for Mbappe, which was accepted by PSG, which then moved on to private negotiations with Mbappe. Al-Hilal reportedly told Mbappe that he could earn a total of €700 million ($1.225 billion) a year in salary, bonuses, and commercial revenue.
It would have been the highest offer in soccer history. Saudi Arabian clubs have recently been trying to capitalize on their oil money to continue their pursuit of European stars, and they approached Mbappe, whose relationship with PSG is currently frosty. The Saudi clubs have promised significantly higher salaries to other players, but nothing as high as the transfer fee and salary offered to Mbappe.
Al-Hilal also tried to convince Mbappe to sign a one-year contract, with a clause in the deal that would allow him to move to any team he wanted after a year. The idea was to keep Mbappe, whose relationship with PSG has deteriorated recently, at the club for at least a year.
However, Mbappe rejected al-Hilal’s offer. France’s L’Equipe reported that “Mbappe has rejected the Saudi offer. Mbappe refused to discuss with Al Hilal representatives in Paris on Wednesday. Al Hilal’s representatives, who were in Paris to finalize the signing of Brazilian Malcolm, had hoped to present their project to Mbappe, but the approach was unsuccessful. Mbappe’s representatives refused to discuss with Al Hilal. Mbappe has reportedly never considered a move to Al Hilal.”
According to Spanish publication Relevo, PSG are open to offers from any team other than Al-Hilal, but they cannot force Mbappe to move, no matter how good the offer is. Mbappe doesn’t want to go to Saudi Arabia. Mbappe wants to win the UCL. That’s possible at Real, but not at Al-Hilal. Mbappe is willing to sit on the bench to go to the team of his choice in a year’s time, and PSG’s actions to pressure him will be futile.”
Mbappe, who has previously been linked with a move to Real Madrid, still seems to be waiting for an offer from Real. Real were initially unwilling to make a move for Mbappe, but their attitude has reportedly changed in recent days.
The move has generated a lot of controversy and gossip. Mbappe’s presence at PSG is huge, and he’s expected to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, so it’s clear that a lot of eyes are on him.
As the situation continued, PSG’s anger reached a fever pitch. “PSG are considering lodging a formal complaint with FIFA over Real’s behavior in the Mbappe transfer saga,” according to the Telegraph. PSG are now convinced that Mbappe has a contract with Real to join them next year for no transfer fee. According to FIFA, it is against the rules to approach a player without the permission of his current club.”
“The most likely scenario is that Real make a cash offer to PSG before the transfer window closes,” the outlet continued. However, even if Real do pay the transfer fee, questions could be raised over how they have organized it.”
Finally, the Telegraph added: “The date for Mbappe to decide and inform PSG whether to extend his contract has passed. But that is already a moot point. The best outcome for everyone would be for Mbappe to stay at PSG for another year, sign a new contract until 2025 and agree to be sold next summer.”
Initially, Mbappe was expected to decide by the end of last month whether to extend his contract and give notice. France’s RMC Sport reported late last month that “This Monday, the 31st, is the last day for Mbappe to decide whether to extend his contract at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). PSG are expected to receive an insulting offer from Real. Mbappe has 31 days to decide and communicate whether he wants to extend his contract with the club.”
Mbappe was left off the roster against Lorient and watched the game from the stands, chatting with Dembele. Mbappe’s behavior was captured on camera. After a summer of rumors of a falling out with the club and an opening day omission, many thought Mbappe’s relationship with PSG would be irreparable.
But the odds have been stacked against him, and Mbappe is back at PSG. Mbappe will now train with PSG players again to prepare for the next match.
Mbappe’s return means we’ll get to see Lee Kang-in, who joined the club in the summer transfer window, team up with Mbappe. It’s something many fans have been looking forward to. The anticipation was heightened by the fact that Lee started the opening game and performed well. The synergy between Lee’s passing and Mbappe’s space penetration is one of the things to look forward to.