As the football season begins to wind down, the cogs in the transfer rumor machine inevitably begin to turn ahead of a summer window in which the world’s best players are predicted to move clubs.
Real Madrid – which endured the most defeats in a season since 1995-96 and is gearing up to spend hundreds of millions on a squad revamp – is reportedly the likely destination for the likes of Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba.
Another player reportedly to be top of Los Blancos’ shopping list is Paris Saint-Germain’s young superstar Kylian Mbappe.
Following a disappointing end to the season that saw PSG eliminated from the Champions League, lose in the French Cup final and stutter over the line to win Ligue 1, a summer of uncertainty over the team’s future is the last thing it needs.
At Sunday’s UNFP (French Professional Footballers Association) Awards, Mbappe was named Ligue 1 Player of the Season but made no assurances that he would be playing in the same league next year.
“It’s a very important moment for me, I have come to a turning point in my career,” the 20-year-old said. “I have discovered a lot here and I feel it is maybe the moment to have more responsibility.
“I hope that can perhaps be at Paris Saint-Germain, that would be a great pleasure. Or maybe elsewhere with a new project.”
Mbappe earned the prize for an incredible personal season that saw him score 32 goals in 28 league games and net 40 in all competitions, overshadowing his teammate and the world’s most expensive player, Neymar, though the Brazilian did miss a chunk of the season through injury.
He also retained the Young Player of the Season prize for the third straight year.
“It’s truly a pleasure, (it was) the only trophy I was missing. I am very happy,” said Mbappe. “It is now my fourth year in this league. I have seen a lot of things which have been rich in emotion.
“Firstly with Monaco where I was formed, we won the title. Then a totally different project with Paris Saint-Germain where I succeeded in adapting my game in my first year and changing position this year.
“But I want to say to you, thank you.”
Last month after PSG was crowned champion of Ligue 1 for the sixth time in seven seasons, the French club’s German coach Thomas Tuchel said Mbappe would remain at the club despite the speculation surrounding a possible transfer to Real Madrid.
“The president [Nasser Al-Khelaifi] has always told me the same thing: There are no opportunities for other clubs to buy Kylian this summer,” Tuchel told reporters.
“I’ve always been convinced that he’ll always be our player. This is important to achieve all our objectives. To win, we need players like Kylian.