Kylian Mbappe has told Paris St-Germain he won’t renew his contract beyond 2024, but does want to stay next season.
If that happens, the French champions risk losing him on a free transfer – some 180m euros (£165.7m) less than they paid for him in 2017.
So will they try to cash in on him this summer? If they do, there will be no shortage of admirers, but only a few clubs can afford him.
The prolific 24-year-old has scored 212 goals and contributed 98 assists in 260 games since joining PSG from Monaco, initially on loan, six years ago. He has won five league titles among his 13 domestic trophies with the club.
He also played a crucial role in France’s 2018 World Cup triumph. His international record of 38 goals in 68 appearances places him fifth on his country’s all-time top scorers list – 15 behind record holder Olivier Giroud.
In December, Mbappe scored the first hat-trick in a World Cup final since 1966 but a penalty shootout loss to Argentina denied him successive World Cup victories at 23.
So, with the world seemingly at his feet, what are his options?
Mbappe looked destined to sign for Real Madrid last year.
Long-admired by the Spanish giants, he agreed a financial package with Real and PSG as he considered his future before his contract expired in June.
Real were willing to pay 150m euros (£127m) as a signing-on fee and a wage of 40m euros (£34m). Instead, Mbappe chose a lucrative new deal and remain at PSG. However, he said the dream of playing for the club was “never over”.
The departure of fellow Frenchman and Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema to Saudi Arabia means Real are in the market for a striker, with Tottenham’s Harry Kane thought to be at the top of their wish-list.
Will this be the year Real get their man? Carlo Ancelotti’s side have already made one statement signing this summer, landing England midfielder Jude Bellingham for 103m euros (£88.5m), and they might now be tempted to finance another.
Manchester United are another European giant chasing a talisman this summer – and among the few Premier League clubs with the financial capacity to fund a move.
There remains uncertainty around the club’s future ownership, however, with Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and rival bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe waiting to see if either of their offers to buy the club will be accepted by the Glazer family.
Manager Erik Ten Hag has prioritized filling the number nine role in his second summer transfer window. England captain Kane an option if Spurs chairman Daniel Levy indicates a willingness to sell to a domestic rival.
Despite this, news of Mbappe’s situation might tempt United to offer him a move to England – and any potential new owner an opportunity to impress.
Source: BBC Sports