Real Madrid’s number one transfer priority this summer remains Kylian Mbappe.
But the Frenchman’s current club, Paris Saint-Germain, will not let go of their prize asset lightly.
And their Qatari hierarchy are considering offering Mbappe a mammoth new contract to try and keep him in the French capital.
Yet, even though that proposal would take Mbappe’s wage to a similar level as Neymar, money might not be enough in this scenario.
Mbappe feels he cannot achieve all his ambitions in the game where he is, and therefore he feels he has to move on.
He has communicated that decision to sporting director Leonardo, president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and coach Mauricio Pochettino, and though relations remain cordial – particularly so with Pochettino – the 22-year-old’s mind seems to be made up.
There have been weeks of transfer activity behind the scenes in Paris of late.
PSG know that the threat of Mbappe leaving is real, and they have been weighing up other world stars that could replace him.
Lionel Messi had been the first target.
There had been contact with the Argentine’s advisors, but Messi now seems set to stay at Barcelona.
Cristiano Ronaldo is another whose name was mentioned, but it seems that the club want to wait for Mbappe to come back from his summer break before they decide on their next steps.
While this situation sorts itself out, PSG need to balance the books to accommodate the arrivals of Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum, whose arrivals might have been on a free but whose salaries have nonetheless sent the club’s wage bill spiralling.
Already out of the door is Mitchel Bakker, who has joined Bayer Leverkusen, and there will likely be others.
As for Real Madrid, they hope that they can somehow get Mbappe through the doors at Valdebebas before the LaLiga Santander season starts, or at least by September 2, when the summer transfer window closes.
Mbappe wants to be the figurehead of a team – something he doesn’t get at PSG with Neymar around – and at Real Madrid, he would be more likely to attain that status.