As Kylian Mbappe tore through Barcelona with elegant ease on Tuesday night, there appeared to be a changing of the guard. The French youngster seemed certain to leave PSG this summer but could Mbappe do the unthinkable and sign a new contract?
For the first time in his career, the freakishly gifted Paris Saint-Germain striker had put a major European powerhouse to the sword, as Lionel Messi was forced to watch Barcelona’s misery in the Champions League continue.
Mbappe is eleven years Messi’s junior. Already a World Cup winner and a superstar of the game, he is emerging as the best player in the world, seemingly ready to end the Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo duopoly that has provided so much debate over the last few years.
Last week’s showing at the Camp Nou was a breakout performance. Yes, the world were already aware of the Frenchman’s supreme talent but, after hitting a hat-trick away at the Camp Nou, Mbappe now seems to be considered on a different level.
For the first time in a decade, you wouldn’t be laughed out of the room to suggest neither Messi or Ronaldo sit atop football’s tree. What it means for PSG as a whole could be equally as momentous too, with the contract of Kylian Mbappe set to expire in the summer of 2022.
No French team has won the Champions League since the first season of the rebrand away from the European Cup model back in the 1992-93 season, with PSG’s struggles in the competition since their Qatari takeover frequently enjoyed by those who oppose their ownership.
In fact, no one outside of England, Spain and Germany has won the continent’s elite competition since 2010 and only five different clubs have won the competition since Inter Milan’s triumph over a decade ago.
With Mbappe and, perhaps more pertinently, Mauricio Pochettino, the French champions look the early favorites for this year’s competition. Finalists last year, a win in Istanbul on May 29th could shift the balance of European football for years to come.
Financial problems at Real Madrid, who would love the French star to be their next Galactico, and Barcelona will make it difficult for them to sign Mbappe, even with his contract running out. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on Premier League spending power too and, although Manchester City could potentially afford him, they have never seemed comfortable in spending so much money on one player despite their huge collective outlay since 2008.
This is where Pochettino comes in. A manager who has proven he is capable of developing a connection with players even despite big interest, the Argentine seems like the perfect coach for the club at the moment and, with things looking up, the latest PSG transfer news is suggesting that the club are hoping that Kylian Mbappe might sign a new contract.
Perhaps interest from Spain will emerge (as it so often does for the best player in the world) but Pochettino’s work in keeping Harry Kane at Tottenham amid his meteoric rise to fame would suggest he may be able to perform a similar task in the French capital.
If he is able to (and the aforementioned impact of the pandemic on spending across Europe continues) and PSG finally win the Champions League, trying to sign Mbappe looks like a nigh on impossible task. Frankly, the money that would require just doesn’t look to be in the game at the moment.
The need to leave the Parc des Princes would dissipate if Pochettino manages to win the Champions League too. Considering the state of some of their rivals, PSG could make the most of problems across the continent and establish themselves as the best team in Europe in the seasons to come.
Hundreds of millions of euros have been spent as the Qataris try to bring players capable of winning that most coveted of prizes to Paris. Ironically, the man who looks best-placed to do that was born and bred in Bondy, just 6.8m away from the city centre. If Kylian Mbappe does sign a new PSG contract, it could be the catalyst for them to build a dynasty.
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