Eight possible destinations for Kylian Mbappe as battle ignites for PSG superstar: Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal…

Ryan Baldi
Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal have all been linked with moves for Kylian Mbappe

Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal have all been linked with moves for Kylian Mbappe

The news that Kylian Mbappe will leave Paris Saint-Germain when his contract expires this summer has sparked giddy speculation over where the 25-year-old will play next season.

It is rare for a player of Mbappe’s pedigree – a World Cup winner widely considered the best player on the planet – to hit the market at the peak of his powers. It is rarer still for such a player to become available as a free agent.

Any savings Mbappe’s next club will make by not having to fork out a record-level transfer fee will offset by the France international’s wage demands, but that won’t dissuade a host of the world’s biggest clubs from making a move.

Here are eight potential next destinations for the soon-to-be-available superstar.

Real Madrid

Universally acknowledged as frontrunners in the race to capture Mbappe, Real Madrid have long been viewed as destined to someday attract the Frenchman to the Bernabeu.

PSG have reportedly been assured that Mbappe has not already agreed to join Los Blancos.

But considering what Real are able to offer – the prestige of playing for the world’s biggest club, the near-guarantee of contending for the Champions League each year, a young squad the envy of most teams and a financial package in line with the player’s likely demands – it’s easy to see why many consider a switch to the Spanish capital to be a forgone conclusion for the former Monaco man.

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti would possess an almost unfair embarrassment of attacking riches were Mbappe to be added to his already talent-packed squad.

The age profile of Madrid’s emerging generation would ensure success for years to come, too, with Mbappe as something of an elder statesman among the likes of Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni.

Mbappe, who grew up idolising Real legend Cristiano Ronaldo, came close to joining Madrid two years ago. This summer, finally, Madrid might get their man.

Man City

Just as it would be competitively unjust for Mbappe to be surrounded by Real Madrid’s wealth of young talent, that would also be the case should the PSG forward form a strike partnership with Erling Haaland, the man many consider to be his primary rival for the title of the world’s best player.

The reigning Treble champions certainly don’t need to make any major additions to their deep and high-achieving squad, especially since Kevin De Bruyne’s seamless reintegration after recovering from injury.

But when a player of Mbappe’s standing becomes available, the prospect of depositing him into perhaps the most complete roster of attacking talent in Europe, alongside the deadliest finisher in the game and under the master tutelage of Pep Guardiola, is too tantalising an idea for City not to at least explore.

Liverpool

Despite City’s status as the Premier League’s dominant force and their big-spending reputation, there has been surprisingly little speculation connecting with a firm interest in Mbappe.

Instead, the English side most often cited as the Frenchman’s top suitors are Liverpool.

Uncertainty surrounding the decision-making personnel at Anfield, with Jurgen Klopp stepping down at the end of the season and sporting director Jorg Schmadtke only in place on an interim basis, means any such seismic moves in the transfer market are complicated.

But with Mohamed Salah now 31 and set to be out of contract at the end of next season, there couldn’t be a more impactful replacement to the Liverpool frontline than Mbappe – one of the few players in world football who could be considered an upgrade on the prolific Egyptian.

Arsenal

It is a sign of Arsenal’s rejuvenation under Mikel Arteta that the Gunners are considered legitimate contenders to land Mbappe when he becomes available at the end of the season.

Young, dynamic, attack-minded and with an obvious need for a proven goal-scorer to take them to the next level, it’s easy to imagine how Mbappe would fit in at the Emirates.

Ever since Arsene Wenger took charge in North London almost three decades ago, Arsenal have attracted some of the best French talent – from Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Nicolas Anelka to Samir Nasri, Olivier Giroud and Alexandre Lacazette.

The stylistic parallels between Mbappe and Gunners icon Thierry Henry are clear, too.

“Why not?” Arteta recently said when asked whether Arsenal would be in the race for Mbappe. 

“If we want to be the best team, we are going to need the best talent & the best players.” I am not involved. Maybe Edu and the owners are, I’m not in those conversations until the last stage.”

According to The Independent, Mbappe is open to an Arsenal move.

Al Hilal

The Saudi Pro League side reportedly offered PSG a world-record €300 million for Mbappe last year.

The offer was rejected, but what was most interesting about Al Hilal’s bid for Mbappe was that they were said to be prepared to sign the French star to a one-year deal, which would have allowed him to resume his career in Europe while still in his peak if he had chosen.

Powered by previous marquee signings Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Neves and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Al Hilal currently sit top of the Saudi Pro League table.

If a similar offer is on the table this summer, with a salary package European clubs can’t match, the opportunity for a quick pay day in Saudi Arabia might appeal to Mbappe.

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Man Utd

Since taking sporting control of the club after securing a part-ownership stake, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS group have moved with a decisiveness and competency that will feel alien to Manchester United fans after almost two decades of the Glazers’ stewardship.

With the appointment of former Manchester City director Omar Berrada as CEO and the pursuit of Newcastle United transfer guru Dan Ashworth for the role of director of football, Ratcliffe and co appear to be wasting no time in hiring best-in-class candidates to fill key hierarchal positions.

If the same approach is to be adopted for player recruitment, signing Mbappe would be a huge statement of intent.

But when asked by a fan whether the new Old Trafford powers that be are lining up a move for Mbappe, Sir Dave Brailsford, a key figure the leadership group installed by the new part-owners, was openly unoptimistic.

“I don’t think so,” the former British Cycling head honcho said. “He’s probably off to Real Madrid isn’t he.”

Barcelona

It’s a sad indictment of Barcelona’s current predicament that they are probably not viable suitors for Mbappe on both financial and competitive grounds.

Hamstrung by FFP constraints and the cost of redeveloping the Camp Nou, the Catalan giants reportedly have to sell several first-team stars before they can consider making major signings this summer.

Plus, currently third in La Liga, 10 points behind first-placed Real Madrid, and with manager Xavi stepping down at the end of the season, they do not represent an attractive option for a player who finds himself the object of desire for the great and good of the game.

But if Barcelona could somehow convince Mbappe that they’re the best fit for him, they’d strike a welcome blow against the Clasico arch-rivals.

AC Milan

Given the financial might of the other clubs listed here and the status of the Premier League and La Liga compared to Serie A’s current standing, a move to Italy for Mbappe has to be considered an outside bet at this stage.

But the Frenchman has previously confessed to a deep affection for AC Milan.

“My connection with Milan is special,” Mbappe once told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

“As a child, I had an Italian nanny and I spent a lot of time with her family, all Milan fans. So, thanks to them, I also cheered for the Rossoneri and watched a lot of Milan games.”

At last year’s FIFA Best Award ceremony, a fan approached the PSG attacker and asked if he’d play in Serie A.

“If I come,” Mbappe replied, “it’s only AC Milan.”

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