Many at the Parc des Princes may be saddened to see Neymar leave PSG for even greater riches on offer in Saudi Arabia – but Kylian Mbappe is reportedly not among those mourning the move.
Former Brazil captain Neymar completed an £86million transfer to Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal earlier this week, bring an end to his hot-and-cold six-year spell in France's capital. The move doesn't recoup even half the £190m fee PSG paid Barcelona for his signature in 2017, though his departure may benefit the team in other respects.
Among those potential boons is a boost in Mbappe's morale after it was claimed the Frenchman will be overjoyed to see the back of his former team-mate. World Cup-winner Mbappe was linked with his own move away from PSG until recently, having threatened to leave the club for nothing when his contract expires next year, only for reports to emerge he's now closing on an extension.
ESPN claim Neymar's departure was an 'absolute blessing' to Mbappe as the Frenchman reportedly did not want Neymar at the club anymore.
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It's reported that it was the same situation last summer, though PSG were unable to find a new club for Neymar, with the situation ramping up this time around. Neymar and Mbappe were also believed to be fighting for the same left-wing position, meaning only one of them could realistically play.
If that's to be believed, it's evident the club has made its decision in prolonging Mbappe's stay. The 24-year-old face of French football was the target of a world-record £259m bid from Al-Hilal prior to them signing Neymar, but Mbappe turned down their advances in order to continue his conquest of Europe.
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That is to say PSG's talisman has become one of the most talented players on the continent and hoovered up a catalogue of trophies for club and country in recent years. Everything except the Champions League (for PSG) and the European Championship – though Les Bleus were crowned UEFA Nations League winners in 2021.
Laurens went on to say Mbappe and PSG are 'now friends again' after the forward saw one of his obstacles removed from one of the most decadent chess boards in club football. Les Parisiens are still open to selling their star, though they refuse to let him leave for free, and there's now a gentleman's agreement between the two parties that will not be the case.
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Those terms are yet to be decided, but it's understood Mbappe could still sign a short-term contract to ensure PSG receive a fee for his services next summer. Either that, or he could waive certain owed bonuses to the tune of between £60m and £85m.
Following a brief period on the outskirts of Luis Enrique's squad, during which he missed PSG's pre-season tour this summer, Mbappe has now returned to training with his team-mates. Both he and Neymar were absent for the club's disappointing stalemate at home to Lorient in the opening match of their Ligue 1 title defence, but Mbappe could be back for Saturday's trip to Toulouse.
The superstar is also said to be 'inseparable' from new signing Ousmane Dembele, who recently joined from Barcelona. That's one pairing Enrique hopes will bear fruit in the near future, with Manchester City's Bernardo Silva said to still be on PSG's radar.
Having joined the club together six years ago, this will be the first fans see of Mbappe without Neymar's shadow in the background. And despite the South American's obvious quality, there's a chance his exit could breathe new life into PSG's poster child.
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