Real Madrid has increased its offer to €170 million ($200 million) for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol.
In an interview with French media outlet RMC (h/t ESPN FC’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez), PSG sporting director Leonardo conceded the French forward is looking to depart but added any transfer “will be done under our conditions.”
Mbappe is entering the final year of his contract, which is raising questions for both sides of the potential transfer.
A €170 million fee is a steep price to pay—even for a talent as good as Mbappe—when the 22-year-old can be signed on a free transfer next summer. That’s also a lot of money for PSG to turn down given his contract status and apparent reluctance to sign an extension.
Some are also wondering how Real Madrid could facilitate such a massive deal given its financial situation.
Club president Florentino Perez cautioned in April that Madrid and other major European powers would be “dead” by 2024 without the monetary boost the since-abandoned Super League was going to provide.
Madrid did, however, announce a net profit of €874,000 from the 2020-21 season despite the strain the COVID-19 pandemic placed on it and clubs around the world. Los Blancos have subsequently padded their coffers with the sales of Raphael Varane (€41 million) and Martin Odegaard (€35 million).
The Athletic’s Adam Crafton reported Real Madrid officials have been pooling a “Mbappe fund” through player sales dating back more than a year. Loaning out Odegaard, Gareth Bale and Luka Jovic allowed the club to stash money away for a marquee transfer as well.
Still, the transfer fee alone wouldn’t represent the entirety of the outlay required to sign Mbappe right now.
The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has allowed Karim Benzema to shine to an even larger degree at the Santiago Bernabeu. Benzema totaled 65 goals in La Liga in the first three seasons following Ronaldo’s move to Juventus.
But the 13-time European champions haven’t found a true replacement for the Portuguese star, both in terms of his impact on the pitch and the commercial value he provided. Mbappe would unquestionably address both concerns.
There isn’t any indication Paris Saint-Germain is willing to let the 2018 World Cup champion leave this summer, but Real Madrid is doing everything it can to test Leonardo’s resolve.