Monaco muddies Madrid’s Mbappe move
MONACO — No deal has been reached between Monaco and Real Madrid over the sale of the French champion’s teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, the principality club said on Wednesday.
Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev also told a media conference his club was in discussions with Mbappe over a contract extension.
The 18-year-old France international has been the subject of intense transfer speculation linking him with a world-record $210 million move, with Spanish sports daily Marca reporting on Tuesday that a fee had been agreed between the clubs.
“I have read a lot of things in the press,” said Vasilyev.
“So far we have not signed any agreements with Real or any other club. All big clubs want him, he’s the great hope of European soccer.
“We are in discussions over a contract extension with Kylian and we hope to reach an agreement.”
When pushed further on whether Mbappe, whose current contract runs until 2019, would leave or sign a new deal, the Russian said: “No, he should not go. Why should he? He is a player that everyone will want, even if he has a year left, everyone will be on him.”
Mbappe burst onto the scene last season as he helped Leonardo Jardim’s side claim its first Ligue 1 title since 2000 and reach the Champions League semifinals.
He scored 15 league goals and six in as many Champions League starts.
The speedy forward has also been strongly linked with Manchester City and Arsenal, but reports had suggested Real was at the top of the queue and on the brink of signing Mbappe, who is a graduate of the esteemed Clairefontaine academy near Paris.
Vasilyev, though, insisted Mbappe needs to be given time to make a decision of that magnitude at such a young age.
“There is too much media pressure around him,” said the Russian. “It’s not easy for him, but he handles it well. We want to take the time to chat quietly with the player and his family.
“You have to give him time, not rush things too fast.”
Mbappe has been wooed so hard by Europe’s elite that Monaco threatened to report the circling predators to FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.
“Top European football clubs made contact with Kylian Mbappe and his entourage without our authorization,” Monaco said on its website on Tuesday.
Also reportedly close to a world-record switch is Brazilian superstar Neymar, with Paris St. Germain hoping to seal his capture from Barcelona for $258 million.
“I think it would be a good thing if Neymar played in Ligue 1, it would be great for France,” Vasilyev said.
Monaco’s Portuguese coach Jardim has already lost sever- al key players that helped his young side to its amazing successes last season.
Portuguese attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva left for Manchester City, before being followed to Etihad Stadium by fullback Benjamin Mendy, as he became the most expensive defender of all time for $67 million.
Defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko also moved to the Premier League to join champion Chelsea, while forward Valere Germain was snapped up by Marseille.
Monaco unveiled its own new summer recruits on Wednesday. They include veteran former Switzerland goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, who arrived from Wolfsburg, and 20-year-old Belgium international midfielder Youri Tielemans, who was signed from Anderlecht.
Vasilyev said Monaco would continue its policy of looking to youth to provide success.
“We will not change our goals,” he said.
“We are talking about progression and moving forwards, but always in the economic interest of the club, I hope we can do that.”