Mbappe joins forces with Neymar at PSG in deal with Monaco
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 01, 2017 08:29 AM
France's Kylian Mbappe, warms up during a training session at the Stade de France stadium in Saint Denis, north of Paris, France, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. France will play against Netherlands during their World Cup Group A qualifying soccer match on Thursday, Aug.31. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — 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.
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.
Mbappe's move to PSG dominated on an otherwise quiet day of transfers in Ligue 1.
Marseille's pursuit of a striker finally ended with Kostas Mitroglou joining from Benfica on a four-year deal.
The 29-year-old forward scored 36 goals in 60 league games for the Lisbon-based club. He has netted 13 times for Greece.
Marseille fans will hope he does as well as Bafetimbi Gomis, who scored 20 league goals last season before joining Turkish club Galatasary.
Central midfielder Nampalys Mendy, meanwhile, returned to former club Nice on a season-long loan from Leicester.
The 25-year-old Frenchman joined Leicester last season after it was crowned Premier League champion.
He was signed as a replacement for N'Golo Kante — who joined Chelsea — but was hindered by injury and made only four league appearances as Leicester struggled.
Central midfielder Giannelli Imbula, whose promising career has not taken off, joined Toulouse from Stoke on a season-long deal.
The 24-year-old Frenchman failed to settle in the Premier League after joining Stoke for a club-record fee from Porto two seasons ago.
Forward Nicolas De Preville joined Bordeaux from Lille on a four-year deal.
The 26-year-old Frenchman netted 14 league goals in 30 games last season and has two in four so far.
Bordeaux also signed attacking midfielder Matheus Pereira from Juventus, with the 19-year-old Brazilian joining on a season's loan with an option to buy.