PSG Early Pre-Season Review, Part 4: A future without Kylian Mbappe?

Kylian Mbappe, PSG, France
Kylian Mbappe, PSG, France / Tim Clayton - Corbis/GettyImages

It's been a little more than a month of off/pre-season at PSG but it's fair to say that we have had all sorts of drama and news coverage for the past few weeks already.

The players of the first-team of PSG have yet to report to the training ground (they'll do so starting on July 10 for non-internationals, and July 17 for the rest of players), but it's not that PSG have not been forced into navigating many storylines.

Here is an early review of everything that has gone on around PSG for the past month after they wrapped up the 2022/23 season by lifting their 11th Ligue 1 title, split into four parts for easier digestion.

PSG Pre-Season Review (4 of 4): A future without Kylian Mbappe?

Uh, oh, talk about an elephant sitting in PSG's room. That elephant, of course, has a name: Kylian Mbappe. And that elephant is also so impactful and important for this club that whatever decision he makes about his future will have a massive impact on the short- and long-term future of Paris Saint-Germain.

As clear as it is that Luis Enrique will be sitting on PSG's bench when the ball gets rolling next August, a total contrasting clarity has risen around the figure of Mbappe and his future in Paris.

This is not a story that has emerged in the past few days. That, if anything, would be only the final chapter of a years-long saga that always seemed to have no end in sight, although it might be approaching its grand finale through the next few weeks and days.

On May 2022, Mbappe extended his contract with PSG until 2025. Only, PSG hid something from their fans and all interested people: the contract expires in June 2024 unless Mbappe decides to activate a player option to remain at PSG through the 2025 season. Mbappe, of course, has said that he doesn't plan to do that, thus virtually turning him into an upcoming free agent in June 2024 and allowing him to sign with whichever club he wants for free with PSG not seeing a single penny and losing the best player in world soccer for nothing.

This week, Mbappe's interview with France Football gained attention as he undervalued and criticized PSG, followed by reports about six PSG players getting in touch with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to make him aware of their concerns when it comes to what Mbappe had to say.

Mbappe sent a letter to PSG in early June that was obtained by French media and revealed to the free world a few weeks ago. Following the introduction of Luis Enrique as the new manager of PSG, the president sent another letter back to PSG demanding him to either extend his contract now past next June, or to confirm he won't do so, thus allowing PSG to sell him in the next few weeks for a sizable fee.

PSG cannot afford to lose their world-class player without compensation, and Mbappe doesn't at least trigger his player option to stay in Paris until the summer of 2025 if not for longer, then Paris Saint-Germain will sell him before the summer transfer window closes next Sep. 1.

This always looked like an empty drama without much substance to it. It looked like the typically fabricated player-team tension-filled storyline in which both sides reach a final agreement that keeps the player in tow under a larger deal, and the club is happy to retain him whatever money they have to pony up for that.

Now, though, things have taken a rather darker turn. Mbappe looks to be closer than ever to really deciding to leave PSG (or at least, not to concede an extension as early as this summer while still under contract for another year, options triggered or not), and PSG look more poised than ever to cash in while they can instead of playing the waiting game and end up on the losers' end.

Suitors, line up if you have some big pockets packed full of money. There might be something brewing here.

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