Barely had the sporting directors returned themselves to a reasonable sleeping pattern after a hectic summer when the rumours began again. Despite signing a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, keeping him in the French capital until 2025, Kylian Mbappe was supposedly not content with matters at the club.
Ever since leaving Real Madrid at the altar, it has been one of the most contested debates in Madrid as to whether they should pursue the French forward ever again. With those rumours of Mbappe’s frustration with certain promises being broken, that debate intensified again.
Yet it is also true that a quick scroll through the gossip pages will tell you that it is not Mbappe that is being most closely linked with Real Madrid, but a combination of Jude Bellingham and Endrick Felipe.
According to a recent report in Diario AS, Real Madrid have not even considered whether they could financially manage a third pursuit of Mbappe. They also mention Bellingham’s name as a factor in those finances, as Los Blancos save their pennies for the English starlet.
The reality is, that it would make little sense to go after Mbappe again, except in the case where he is perhaps out of contract once again.
Their focus does appear to be on finding the next star for their midfield. While Luka Modric continues to play regularly and well, relying on the 37-year-old’s presence at the elite level is poor strategic planning. Already he has pushed the limits of longevity further than many thought he could. Delaying their move to replace him beyond next summer, a further season and a half, would be a neglection of duties.
While Los Blancos already have Eduardo Camavinga and Fede Valverde developing at a rate of knots, neither have the same nous and gentle touch when it comes to dissecting defences.
Finding someone who does, whether that be Bellingham or otherwise, will be an expensive task. Although Florentino Perez made his name during the Galactico era, since the mid-2010s, a clear change of strategy has taken place.
Real Madrid will only commit to one major signing per summer, if at all. Since the summer of 2019, when Eden Hazard, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Luka Jovic all arrived, Los Blancos have only spent money on two transfers. Aurelien Tchouameni and Camavinga stand out as the only deals that have cost them any money and while they might not be that frugal next summer, in a distorted sense of the word, it seems highly unlikely they would go on a spending offensive.
A significant fee for a fresh midfielder effectively rules out any pursuit of Mbappe for next summer. While Karim Benzema, 35, could also do with a replacement sooner rather than later, one of Mbappe’s complaints at PSG has been that he does not want to play as a central striker – where Benzema’s replacement would.
In addition, the fact Vinicius Junior has developed into a world star on the left means that even if Mbappe is one of the few players who could potentially improve upon the Brazilian, it is not a position of great need. Bringing Mbappe in would mean either sales or moving one of the two out of their most effective role.
The reporting from Madrid is that Mbappe’s behaviour surrounding his decision to stay in Paris was not what the club desires from its stars. That may well be the case, but a much simpler truth is that Mbappe does not fit financially or strategically with what Real Madrid currently desire.