This morning, Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal were given permission by Paris Saint-Germain to speak to Kylian Mbappé after accepting an apparent world record-breaking £259m bid.
Al-Hilal are said to be offering the Frenchman €700m on a one-year deal, which would then leave him free to join Real Madrid this time next year.
However, despite having nothing like the financial might of the nouveau riche Saudis at present, Barcelona seem intent on hi-jacking the deal. L’Equipe has claimed that Barça have agreed to meet with the Parisians with the intention of putting their own deal on the table, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
To be able to entice PSG away from the Al-Hilal deal and beat off competition from the biggest Premier League clubs, Barcelona are willing to add several players into the deal to make up for their lack of spending power.
Frenchmen Ousmane Dembélé and Jules Koundé are expected to be pawns in this game of transfer chess, while the same news sources have mentioned Eric García, Raphinha, Ferran Torres and Franck Kessié as players who could be thrown into the bargain.
The strong ties many of these players have with new head coach Luis Enrique, PSG or French football more broadly will help Barcelona’s cause, as will PSG’s ongoing frustration with Real Madrid’s handling of the saga.
It would be arguably the greatest transfer coup ever if Barcelona were to beat their rivals to the signing of Mbappé, though even if a deal were to be accepted by PSG, questions remain over what kind of contract and wages the Catalan giants could offer the 24-year-old.
Anthony Tomas | GSFN