Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is indeed planning to start the season with Kylian Mbappe in the second team.
PSG will open the 2023-24 Ligue 1 season against Lorient at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, on Sept. 13.
Heading into the season, PSG has been plagued by the Mbappe saga. The saga dates back to mid-June. Mbappe and PSG signed a new contract before the start of the 2022-23 season. At the time, the contract appeared to be for three years. When Mbappe and PSG president Nasser El-Khelaifi announced the renewal, he wore the number 2025 on his PSG jersey to signify that his contract would run until 2025.
However, PSG and Mbappe signed a 2+1 year deal. Surprisingly, it was Mbappe who had the power to trigger the one-year extension clause. Mbappe and PSG had been in talks to extend his contract beyond the 2022-23 season 꽁머니.
The talks were going well, but suddenly, Mbappe informed them in a letter that he would not be triggering the extension clause. As the BBC reported at the time, “Mbappe has told PSG he will not be renewing his contract. Mbappe had until July 31 to tell the club whether he would re-sign. But after months of talks, he sent a letter declining an extension. Mbappe can leave next summer for no transfer fee,” the report said.
PSG were extremely angry and felt a strong sense of betrayal from Mbappe. PSG felt that Mbappe and Real Madrid had pre-negotiated a deal for him to join them on a free transfer, which led to their stance that they would sell him. Before the final decision was made, PSG gave Mbappe two options: re-sign or transfer.
Mbappe’s position was staged. When Mbappe returned to pre-season after the holidays, he didn’t say much, and eventually PSG decided that he wasn’t willing to extend his contract, so he missed the pre-season tour. PSG traveled to Japan for their Asian tour without Mbappe. Mbappe remained in France to train.
PSG immediately and publicly positioned itself to sell Mbappe, and then came the Saudi capital that has dominated the transfer market this summer. On July 24, multiple media outlets, including the UK’s The Athletic, reported that “PSG has received a €300 million offer from Al-Hilal for Mbappe. PSG has authorized Al Hilal and Mbappe to hold talks.”
The €300 million transfer fee is more than the €222 million PSG paid for Neymar in the 2017-18 season. Satisfied with the offer, PSG authorized Al Hilal to negotiate with Mbappe, and Al Hilal took it upon themselves to convince him to stay.
A delegation of Al Hilal negotiators traveled to Paris to try and convince Mbappe. Al-Hilal made two radical demands to get Mbappe to sign.
First, the salary. If Mbappe accepted the offer, he would receive €200 million in salary alone. Al Hilal would then add commercial deals and endorsement deals to the mix, bringing Mbappe’s salary to €700 million (about $1 trillion).
The next stipulation was that Mbappe would only play one year at Al Hilal before moving on. Everyone knows that Mbappe wants to go to Real and that he will eventually join them, so Al Hilal wanted to secure his future.
Despite the unprecedented treatment in soccer history, Mbappe refused to even negotiate with Al Hilal. Mbappe’s refusal to sign for PSG has been a source of frustration for the club.
Still, PSG had no intention of changing their stance. They were already working on the transfer market with the assumption that Mbappe would leave. Ousmane Dembele and Gonzalo Higuain are on the verge of signing, and the club is also working on a deal for Randal Kolo Moani from Frankfurt.
PSG gave Mbappe one last chance to stay. They signed him to a one-year contract and then allowed him to leave at the end of the 2023-24 season on mutually agreeable terms. It was PSG’s last hope, as they didn’t want to sell Mbappe for nothing.
France’s RMC Sport reported on March 30 that “PSG leaders have offered the player a new contract. According to the club, the offer included a buyout clause next summer, but Mbappe rejected it and did not respond.” When Mbappe refused, the PSG hierarchy sent him to the second team.
“Mbappe will continue to be excluded from the PSG squad after refusing to sign a new contract with the club, which has a ‘guaranteed sale clause’ allowing him to leave next summer,” the Telegraph reported on June 6. The PSG first team will return to training on Monday after a preseason tour of Japan and South Korea. Mbappe will remain in the ‘loft group’ rather than the ‘A group’. This decision was taken by the PSG hierarchy on Sunday.”
The loft group here refers to the players for sale. “The ‘loft group’ is made up of players who are up for sale. Players who are not part of PSG’s plans.”
France’s Le Parisien is also predicting that Mbappe will miss the upcoming league opener against Lorient. The publication released its starting lineup for the Lorient game on July 7, and Mbappe’s name was not on it. Up front, Marco Asensio, Hugo Ekitiike, and Karlere Soler were named.
In midfield, Zaire Emery, Manuel Ugarte and either Vitinha or Fabian Ruiz were expected to start. Lee Kang-in made his return against Jeonbuk Hyundai, but he’s not yet fit enough to start. Lee didn’t play much time against Jeonbuk.
The defense is expected to consist of Ashraf Hakimi, Milan Shkreliar, Marquinhos, and Luca Hernandez. Gianluigi Donnarumma is likely to take the goalkeeping gloves.
PSG plans to mobilize the crowd for the opening match against Lorient. The idea is to put pressure on Mbappe to walk off the field. According to Mario Cortegana of The Athletic in the UK, “Mbappe will not be called up for the Ligue 1 match. PSG are hoping that the Ultras (PSG supporters) will raise their voices on the pitch to put pressure on Mbappe.”