Kylian Mbappé’s decision to reject Real Madrid and commit to Paris Saint-Germain for three more seasons marks the start of a large rebuilding project at the French league champion.
Since cash-rich Qatari investors took over in 2011, PSG has been a dominant force in France but has consistently failed to replicate that success on the European stage despite spending massive amounts on star players.
Club officials now hope that Mbappé decision to snub the Spanish giants will finally lead to the conquest of club soccer’s biggest trophy, the Champions League.
In addition to the colossal sums of money reportedly promised to the 23-year-old forward — financial terms of Mbappé’s new deal have not been disclosed — the France star has received guarantees that things will change in a big way, with a new coach and a new sporting director likely to be appointed in the coming days or weeks.
New players will also join this summer to help finalize a project that will be centered around the World Cup-winning forward.
“By extending his contract with Paris Saint-Germain, he becomes the cornerstone of the club’s project for the years to come, both on and off the pitch,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said.
Al-Khelaifi is expected to unveil details of PSG’s upcoming plans later Monday in Paris during a press conference with Mbappé.
The first collateral victim of Mbappé’s prolonged stay in the French capital has been sports director Leonardo. The former Brazil international, who returned to the club three years ago, was fired over the weekend following intense discussions.
According to L’Equipe newspaper, his departure was crucial in the negotiations with Mbappé, who pushed for an overhaul of the hierarchy following PSG’s exit in the last 16 of the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid in March.
Luis Campos has been tipped as a replacement for Leonardo. The Portuguese is a renowned talent scout with connections in Europe and South America and has been enjoying an excellent relationship with Mbappé and his family. Campos, who previously worked at Lille and Monaco, had played an influential role when Mbappé signed his first professional deal with the Principality side in 2016.
One thing that won’t immediately change at PSG, though, is its habit of frequently changing coaches. Mauricio Pochettino, who sealed PSG’s record-equaling 10th league title but could not avoid another Champions league failure, is unsure about his future at the helm of the Parisian team amid reports in the French media that he will be replaced soon. Speculation over the potential appointment of Zinedine Zidane has been growing in recent days.
To strengthen their squad, PSG officials have also discussed with Mbappé the prospect of recruiting a versatile fullback and several new midfielders. L’Équipe reported Monday that PSG has made a priority of signing Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouaméni, with Ousmane Dembélé also targeted.
Mbappé joined PSG from Monaco in 2017 when he was still a teenager. He has already scored 171 goals in just 217 appearances for PSG and won three consecutive player of the season awards, topping the French scoring charts each of the last four seasons.