Now that Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona is nearly done, at least once the incredibly stubborn La Liga officials are out of the way, we can focus on the other important story of the summer, and that is Kylian Mbappé.
Millions (probably) of words have already been written about the teenage sensation, so we won’t go into too much detail about who he is, but he is currently at the centre of an apparent four way tug of war between Manchester City, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.
It’s the latter of the four we’re going to focus on on Thursday, mostly because Marca have written up a rather lengthy breakdown of what needs to happen before Zinedine Zidane can add the French prodigy to his side, and it involves Manchester United.
You’ve probably already put two and two together, but the bottom line of the article is that for Mbappé to arrive at the Santiago Bernabéu, one of the BBC need to pack their bags, and the most likely out of the three is Gareth Bale… which is where Manchester United come in.
The Wales international has spent a lot of time recovering from injuries over the past two years, and while his talent is still very clearly there, most would prefer a player capable of appearing regularly rather than a handful of times every few weeks.
That said, Real Madrid’s handling of Bale’s fitness has at times seemed reckless, and Manchester United would take that into consideration.
It’s no secret that Ed Woodward would quite like to be the one to bring Gareth Bale to Old Trafford, having already attempted to do so in the past, even if it were to cost him (the club) a pretty penny.
Going back to the Marca article, the Spanish newspaper explain that although negotiations between Real Madrid and Monaco have slowed down regarding Mbappé, the La Liga champions are quietly optimistic they can get the transfer over the line.
The recent setback has apparently been down to two things: one being the fact the Ligue 1 club have asked for more money since that ‘agreement in principle’ from mid-July of around €180m broken down in either €160m + €20m or €150m + €30m packages.
Now, thanks to the Neymar transfer, that fee has gone up.
As they did in the Anthony Martial transfer to Manchester United, Monaco now want a “Ballon d’Or” clause, which would see the principality club receive €25m were Mbappé to win the trophy as a Real Madrid player; a fee the La Liga side feel is a bit much.
On the managerial side of things, the arrival of the 18-year-old this summer with no further exits would likely cause him a bit of a headache, having to find a way to fit the already present BBC around his new €180m+ asset.
That is why Marca state the 1998 World Cup winner doesn’t want four galacticos to choose from, which happens to be the second reason why negotiations have stalled.
Making this clear to Florentino Pérez and José Ángel Sánchez, this decision led to the exit of James Rodriguez on a two-year loan to Bayern, and could end up pushing Gareth Bale towards a new club, too.
Out of the three members of the BBC, the Welshman’s exit would cause the fewest problems, which is why the club have already set a price tag of around €100m on their star, as well as sounding out a few Premier League clubs about their potential interest in the winger.
This is where Manchester United come in, as they are the club who have shown the most interest in Gareth Bale over the years, even if Chelsea are also said to ‘appear interested’.
Of course, one must take into account the player’s desires, and if the 28-year-old didn’t seem ready to make an exit easy, wanting to conquer the world in his beloved white shirt, that has now changed.
Marca state Bale isn’t as against a return to English football as he once was, aware that his injuries over the past four years have stopped him from performing regularly.
Back to Mbappé, and the Spanish newspaper look at their potential competition for his signature.
Paris Saint-Germain, once very interested, are about to sign Neymar, which Marca believe means that’s enough for them this summer, while Manchester City have already spent more than €250m this transfer window, and have pulled out.
As for their main rivals, Barcelona, their number one target appears to be Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé, and it’s more Monaco who would want the La Liga runners-up to join the battle for their starlet, putting them in a position of power.
That’s the Real Madrid heavy slant for now: Bale exit (potentially to Old Trafford) = Mbappé arrival.