Premier League • England

Kylian Mbappe: Liverpool need to sacrifice Mo Salah and up to FIVE other stars to beat Real Madrid to signing

Kylian Mbappe has been linked with Liverpool, who may need to offload Thiago and Mo Salah to fund his signing

Kylian Mbappe has been linked with Liverpool, who may need to offload Thiago and Mo Salah first

Liverpool interest in Kylian Mbappe is reportedly genuine – but it’s now been suggested that as many as six players would potentially need to depart Anfield to free up funds to seal the spectacular signing of the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

The World Cup winner finds himself once again at a major career crossroads as he approaches the final six months of his deal with PSG for the second summer in a row. But while Mbappe signed an extension at the Parc des Princes last year, there is a growing feeling in France that this time the 25-year-old could finally be on the move.

Now into his seventh season with PSG, Mbappe has already waived his rights to a huge €80m (£69m) loyalty bonus by refusing to trigger an extension to that deal in order to leave himself the option of securing a free transfer this summer.

Predictably, Real Madrid have emerged as favourites for his signature, having chased the 265-goal star since his teenage years.

However, having set Mbappe a deadline of January 20 to decide on a free transfer to the Bernabeu, Mbappe’s insistence this week that he will not be rushed into a decision and plans to decide his future at the end of the season, leaves the Spanish giants with a problem – and it could force them to walk away from a deal.

“I haven’t made my decision,” he told L’Equipe.

“We have an agreement with President Al Khelaifi, which means that all parties are protected. We are focused on the team, not on my situation.”

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Mbappe to Liverpool: Reds need to sacrifice Mo Salah

As a result, reports have gathered pace this week that Liverpool are now very firmly back in the race to land Mbappe this summer.

Of course, while on paper the move would go down as a ‘free transfer’, the switch would be anything but, given the significant signing-on fee, together with the enormous wages Mbappe will demand from his next club.

To that end, Mbappe currently earns a reported £860,000 a week – a figure way beyond Liverpool’s means.

Even Jurgen Klopp has joked about reports linking Mbappe with Liverpool, saying to Sky Deutschland back in August: “We laugh about it.

“I can say that I think he’s a really good player but the financial conditions don’t suit us at all. I wouldn’t like to ruin the story now… but as far as I know, there’s nothing to it.

“It’s possible that someone else from the club is preparing something and wants to surprise me… that hasn’t happened in the eight years that I’ve been here. That would be the first time.”

Now a report in the Daily Express has looked into ways in which Mbappe to Liverpool could occur – but admits the financial parameters around any such deal will be extremely difficult to pull off.

First up, it’s reported they would need to first move on their current top earner in Mo Salah, who is paid £350,000 a week.

His deal is due to expire in summer 2025 and talks over an extension to keep Salah at Anfield are reportedly well underway.

But Liverpool do have the option of selling Salah to Saudi Arabia, with a move there not only making the Egyptian the best-paid sportsman in the world, but also potentially netting Liverpool a new world-record fee.

Up to five other Liverpool stars could depart in 2024

While any such move would undoubtedly help cover a large portion of Mbappe’s wages – and Liverpool would also need the player to take on some sort of salary reduction too on his PSG wage too – Salah’s exit might not be the only high-profile departure, with the Express suggesting up to six other players may also need to depart.

The most obvious exit would be Thiago Alcantara, with the Spanish star becoming something of a forgotten figure at Anfield. He is yet to make an appearance for Liverpool this season, having struggled since April with a hip injury.

Recently linked with Barcelona, his former club are in the market for a new midfielder themselves as they look to cover the injury absence of Gavi, who has torn his anterior cruciate ligament and now faces months of rehabilitation.

In addition to Thiago, it’s reported the club’s next highest-paid player, in Virgil van Dijk, could be on the chopping block.

However, Van Dijk has been superb this season and reports of his demise are wholly inaccurate; as too is Liverpool’s desire to get rid of a man who is now back to his very best.

More realistically, however, Liverpool may be tempted to move on Joel Matip, whose current deal ends this summer. However, with the experienced centre-half recently suffering a serious ACL tear himself, Klopp has already urged the Reds to do right by the player.

Diogo Jota is another player the Reds could reportedly consider sacrificing to help fund a move for Mbappe, with the Portuguese forward seen as another sacrificial lamb in pursuit of Mbappe.

However, he’s a player Klopp loves and his nine goals in 19 appearances this season illustrates his worth.

One player Klopp would not mind losing, however, is goalkeeper Adrian, with the veteran Spaniard – the club’s third-choice keeper – also reportedly set to make way. The 37-year-old’s last appearance for the Reds came in the Community Shield win over Man City in August 2022.

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