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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

France striker Kylian Mbappe joins Paris Saint-Germain on loan from AS Monaco

French striker Kylian Mbappe has signed for Paris Saint-Germain on loan from AS Monaco.

football Updated: Sep 01, 2017 09:02 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Kylian Mbappe completed a sensational loan move from AS Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain.
Kylian Mbappe completed a sensational loan move from AS Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain. (AFP)

Kylian Mbappe’s much-anticipated move to Paris Saint-Germain finally went through on Thursday evening with Monaco loaning the 18-year-old forward until the end of the season along with an option to make the move permanent.

No financial details were given by PSG in its statement Thursday, but the permanent deal would be from 2018-22.

Although no transfer fee has been given by either French club, it was widely reported that PSG will pay an astonishing 180 million euros ($216 million) for Mbappe, who burst onto the scene last season in sensational style.

“It’s with great joy and pride that I’m joining Paris Saint-Germain,” Mbappe said in a statement. “For all young people who grew up in the Paris region, it’s often a dream to be able to wear the red and blue shirt.”

It means that PSG now has unprecedented status as effectively owning the world’s two most expensive players, with Brazil star Neymar bought for a world record 222 million euros ($262 million).

“I was seduced by the project of the club, which is one of the most ambitious in Europe,” Mbappe said. “Alongside my new teammates, I intend to help the team reach the very high objectives it has set.”

Mbappe will likely start on the left of a three-pronged attack with Neymar on the right and Edinson Cavani — who scored 49 goals in all competitions last season — playing through the middle.

The Neymar deal restricted PSG’s ability to sign Mbappe right away, because of Financial Fair Play rules designed to curtail excessive spending by clubs each season.

It also meant that both clubs had to find a way to make the loan deal possible without affecting PSG’s bank balance this season. Mbappe was expected to join as recently as last week, but the move only just made it through before the transfer window shuts at midnight Thursday.

Once PSG signed Neymar, the chances of Monaco holding onto Mbappe went down.

READ | Kylian Mbappe joins PSG, Ross Barkley snubs Chelsea in dramatic deadline day

Although he grew up in the Paris suburb of Bondy, Mbappe overlooked PSG as a 14-year-old and joined Monaco, whose outstanding youth academy turned him into the most sought after teenager in world football.

It is another massive coup by PSG, uniting one of the world’s top three players in Neymar with a young talent considered to be a future world star.

“It’s vital for French football to keep and to help progress such a talent in our league,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. “Among the players of his age, he is without any doubt one of the most promising in the world thanks to his immense technical, physical and mental capacities.”

Mbappe’s meteoric rise last season was even more remarkable considering that, at the start of last season, he was in Monaco’s reserves. He only got into the first team in October after his father — also his agent — gave an interview saying Monaco had to play his son or Mbappe would leave.

It proved a smart move, as Monaco won the league handsomely and reached the semifinals of the Champions League, playing breathtaking attacking football that produced more than 150 goals in all competitions and made the rest of Europe take notice.

Mbappe formed a lethal partnership with the experienced Radamel Falcao, who regained his best form playing alongside the lightning-quick and highly skilled Mbappe.

Al-Khelaifi has made a name as the president who bought superstars, with Neymar and Mbappe following in the giant footsteps of Zlatan Ibrahimovic — the club’s all-time leading scorer with 156 goals.

PSG will now turn to Mbappe and Neymar to lead the team to elusive Champions League glory.

Despite a massive outlay on players, PSG has failed to get past the quarterfinals of the Champions League in the past four seasons, and only once made the semifinals — back in 1995.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 23:27 IST

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