Mbappe remaining at PSG is bad news for his career and for football

It is finally over. The monetary might of Qatar has won.

Kylian Mbappe has signed a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain to remain at Parc De Princes until June 2025.

It has ended in heartbreak for fans of Real Madrid who went as far as chanting Mbappe’s name at their stadium, believing that the best young player in the world would be theirs come next season.

From the title of this article, you know where I stand. And in the following subheadings, I will explain my standpoint.

Politics and football

Footballers are cultural icons. This makes it easy for politicians to use football to score points for whatever reasons they need them. Take Qatar and France using Mbappe’s deal for their own means, for example.

Mbappe’s renewal was reported to have been greatly influenced by both the presidents of Qatar and France, who have ties to PSG and Qatar Sports Investments, the owners of PSG.

The 23-year-old striker received phone calls promising him various benefits from high ranking state officials of both countries – some even claimed that France president Emmanuel Macron called him directly – we can maybe conclude he was pressured into accepting the renewal offer.

This sets a precedent that could end up becoming bad, where players can be persuaded into giving up their dreams for political reasons, no matter how good they may seem.

An outrageous £1 million per week salary

PSG have a reputation for outrageous spending and the new Mbappe contract is an example of this.

Although Madrid were willing to go above and beyond for Mbappe, PSG chose to break the ceiling.

According to reports, the sign-on bonus is the only thing in the PSG offer that is similar to what Madrid offered (Madrid offered £110 million, PSG offered £100 million).

But PSG offered Mbappe a £48 million (some reports claim £60 million) annual pay to Mbappe, alongside bonuses that could enter £100 million. Madrid offered a £20 million annual pay, in contrast.

Mbappe is already a global superstar and will surely bring lots of economic benefit to the club and their owners. But will they be able to recoup over £500 million in investment over the next three seasons?

This brings a potential problem in future transfer windows as PSG will want to recoup a good percentage of what they will be investing in Mbappe.

Not many clubs will be able to afford Mbappe and the possible transfer fee PSG could demand for him in the future.

A 27-year-old problem

There is no way we can predict Mbappe’s career trajectory accurately but one thing we do know is that he will no longer be the best “young” player in the world at the end of his contract.

He could become the outright best footballer in the world by then with a few Ballons d’Or like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. But he could also become another exciting young player who failed to live up to expectations.

I maintain the utmost respect for the French Ligue 1, but PSG is to the French league as Bayern Munich is to the German Bundesliga. This means that Mbappe could spend his whole career in the league and win it five times out of every seven tries.

There is no real challenge in that. Staying in such a club paints Mbappe as a player with no real ambition.

PSG is also unlike Bayern who have a system that produces great players in their academy and identifies the best players for really cheap fees in the transfer market.

Bayern’s system also makes it easy to dominate and this is also evident in the UEFA Champions League. PSG, on the other hand, rely on money for everything and they have barely gotten it right when they bet their big bucks on players.

What happens when PSG cannot provide Mbappe with the talent that will elevate his?

At 26/27 when his new contract will be expiring, it will have gotten a lot harder to move Mbappe on, which will pose a problem for his career which has so much potential.

The Ballon d’Or problem

This could also pose a problem for Mbappe’s Ballon d’Or chances.

Mbappe wants to win the prestigious award but PSG are not exactly the club where this can be achieved, neither is Ligue 1.

Despite the award originating in France, there has been no active PSG or Ligue 1 players to have won the award in its history. There have, however, been a few players who have won it who have been associated with the club and the league.

Messi is the most recent example. He won the 2021 award as a PSG player but the award was given based on his performances for Barcelona the season before. Mbappe would have a much better chance winning it if he played elsewhere.

And he would have had a much bigger chance winning it at Real Madrid, who are one of the clubs with the most Ballon d’Or-winning players.

Mbappe is already a serial winner. He is a World Cup winner at 19 which tops the list of his achievements, but he is not the only one. Much less special players have achieved that feat. However, his other ambitions – the Ballon d’Or and the Champions League – are unlikely to be fulfilled at PSG.

The deal, as a whole, also opens football to a lot of compromise as state backed funders could use football as a political means to a political end.

Whatever happens, the next three years will be interesting to observe.

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