Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain confirmed it received a €300 million ($332 million) bid from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal for star attacker Kylian Mbappé, according to the Associated Press’ James Robson.
The transfer fee would set a world record if the move goes through.
Per James Benge of CBS Sports, Al-Hilal is willing to give the 24-year-old €700 million for one season, which will afford him the freedom to pursue a move to Real Madrid next summer.
Many expect the dynamic Frenchman to be on a different club when the 2023-24 season gets underway.
In June, Mbappé told Paris Saint-Germain he wasn’t triggering a one-year extension in his contract, which sets the stage for him to leave on a free transfer during the 2024 summer window. As a result, PSG signaled to interested suitors it’s willing to sell him now.
Saudi clubs are in the midst of a spending frenzy as part of a larger project to improve the country’s image abroad.
Al-Hilal is one of four Saudi Pro League clubs now controlled by the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. It has already signed Rúben Neves, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Kalidou Koulibaly.
In the case of Mbappé, the eye-popping sums of money on offer in Saudi Arabia may not be a big enough draw. Putting an offer worth a reported $400 million annually couldn’t seal the deal with another notable star, Lionel Messi.
There’s already a sense Mbappé’s career is stalling a bit at Paris Saint-Germain. PSG’s domestic dominance is such that Ligue 1 simply doesn’t present him with the same challenges he might find elsewhere.
Signing with Al-Hilal—even for one season—would extend that narrative even further. As much as the Saudi Pro League has done to improve, the quality of competition remains well below that of Europe’s top leagues.
Considering there’s more than a month left in the summer transfer window, Mbappé’s market figures to evolve before he makes a final decision. Perhaps the Al-Hilal interest provides the impetus for Real Madrid to act now and finalize a partnership that’s more than a year in the making.