Kylian Mbappe has told Paris Saint-Germain he will not take up the option of a 12-month extension on his contract, which expires at the end of next season. (More Football News)
The France superstar confirmed his decision in a letter to PSG, a person with knowledge of the correspondence told The Associated Press on Monday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
The person also said PSG would not allow Mbappe to leave as a free agent, raising the possibility of an immediate bidding war by other clubs and potential transfer this summer.
The French club, which is owned by Qatar Sports Investments, has already seen Lionel Messi leave for nothing in return, with the Argentine great making a stunning move to MLS team Inter Miami.
There is also uncertainty about the future of another PSG star — Brazil international Neymar.
But the potential departure of the 24-year-old Mbappe would be the greatest loss to PSG, given that he is a national icon and widely considered one of the few players capable of taking over from Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as soccer’s biggest star.
Mbappe had until July 31 to trigger a one-year extension to his contract. He has been at the club since 2017 after signing from Monaco in a transfer worth a reported $190 million.
In 2021, PSG turned down a bid of $190 million from Real Madrid for the World Cup-winning forward, who went on to sign his current contract.
Mbappe hoped to help PSG win its first Champions League title, but the team suffered another disappointment in European soccer’s top competition, which Manchester City went on to win by beating Inter Milan 1-0 in the final on Saturday.
The young striker is likely to be linked with a move to Madrid, particularly after Karim Benzema left the Spanish giant for Saudi Arabian team Al-Ittihad.
Madrid has already agreed to a deal for England midfielder Jude Bellingham. The potential acquisition of Mbappe would be a major statement of intent after it relinquished its Spanish league and Champions League titles this year.
PSG was planning a change of strategy after moves for the biggest stars failed to bring success in Europe. The new focus would be on young, French talent. Mbappe was expected to be at the heart of that shift and it had been hoped he would sign a longer-term contract.
Mbappe has won five French league titles with PSG and was a World Cup winner with France in 2018.