Kylian Mbappe wants out of PSG and Real Madrid are keen but what’s really going on? ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest.
Move to: Xabi Alonso typed as potential Real Madrid coach | Man Utd wary of Barcelona’s Dalot interest | Man City identifies key area for rebuild
Kylian Mbappe’s complicated relationship with Real Madrid
Real Madrid are not considering another move for longtime top target Kylian Mbappe, sources told ESPN after being scorned by his last-minute about-face that saw the star striker rebuff them to Paris Saint-Germain in May last year.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that Mbappe, 23, is pushing to leave PSG – just five months after signing a new contract – after his relationship with club managers collapsed over what he saw as broken promises over team tactics and recruitment. PSG sporting director Luis Campos has denied the reports, saying Mbappe had expressed no desire to leave in the January transfer window.
Sources say Madrid are not planning to rekindle their long-standing interest in Mbappe and while a move cannot be ruled out entirely should he become available, the La Liga club are now focusing on other targets.
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Mbappe was set to join Madrid on a free transfer last June, ending a years-long saga in which he had become the top priority for president Florentino Perez. But Mbappe’s later change of heart, which saw the France international scorn Madrid from renewing his contract at the Parc des Princes, did not go down well at the Bernabeu.
Mbappe initially cited PSG’s “sporting project” that convinced him to stay, but later said he had come under pressure from President Emmanuel Macron to continue his career in France. Sources told ESPN that Mbappe now feels that assurances he received regarding his role in the PSG team – he would like to play alongside a conventional No9 and want an exit for his teammate Neymar – have not been fulfilled .
Madrid decided against an alternative after missing out on Mbappe, relying on Brazilian strikers Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes, who will deliver alongside Karim Benzema. Vinicius, 22, has followed his winner in the Champions League final and has scored seven goals in all competitions so far this season, while Rodrygo, 21, added four goals to Madrid’s unbeaten start.
In the longer term – and when the time comes to replace Benzema, now 34 – the club could rekindle their interest in Erling Haaland after the pursuit of Mbappe and Benzema’s career-best have put them out of the running to sign him this year. Haaland has made a spectacular start to the Premier League with Manchester City, scoring 20 goals in his first 12 games.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas told ESPN the league would welcome a player of Mbappe’s caliber if Real Madrid went ahead with a move.
“When I talk about Madrid I think of most of their fans who are always looking for exceptional players and world class. And Mbappe is one of those players,” he said.
“I can see it’s difficult for the club because it hurts what he did to Madrid in the summer, but I don’t think the fans will say no if they add a player like that to their squad. If Mbappe comes, he will be applauded.” , cheered, followed … I’m convinced.” – Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez
Real Madrid are monitoring Xabi Alonso’s development as a manager
Real Madrid will be following Xabi Alonso’s performance as Bayer Leverkusen manager with interest, sources told ESPN, eyeing the former Liverpool, Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder as a potential candidate to take over the Bernabeu.
Alonso, 40, was called up by Leverkusen on October 5 as the Bundesliga club seek to reverse a dreadful start to the season in which they took just five points from their first eight league games. Madrid will be keeping a close eye on Alonso’s progress, sources said, as the LaLiga giants believe he fits the profile of a possible future Real Madrid coach.
The former midfielder has had the opportunity to play for and learn from some of the most successful coaches of recent years, including Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. Alonso is a familiar face at Madrid, having coached the U14 national team in the 2018/19 season after spending five years as a player there. He impressed in his three years as manager of Real Sociedad’s B team, guiding them to their first promotion to Spain’s second division in 60 years in 2021.
Madrid now want to see how Alonso develops in this next phase of his coaching career at Leverkusen, which is his first top-flight appointment. Alonso made an immediate impression, beating Schalke 4-0 on his debut last week, although a 3-0 home defeat by FC Porto in midweek saw them bottom in Champions League Group B with two rounds to go were. – Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez
Rob Dawson opens up about Cristiano Ronaldo after the Manchester United striker scored his 700th club goal of his career.
Man Utd tackling Barcelona interest in Dalot
Manchester United will activate an extension of Diogo Dalot’s contract to fend off interest from Barcelona, sources have told ESPN. Dalot is in the final year of the deal he signed after joining from Porto in 2018, but United have the option to extend his stay until 2024.
Barcelona are one of several clubs monitoring his situation but the 23-year-old won’t be available on a free transfer next summer.
Dalot has established himself as a first-choice right-back since the arrival of Erik ten Hag as coach, making 11 appearances in all competitions so far this season. The Portugal international is entering his fifth season at Old Trafford and is nearing 100 appearances for the club. He spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Milan but has been a key part of the United squad ever since.
He will also be part of the Portugal squad at the World Cup in Qatar alongside teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. – Rob Dawson
Janusz Michallik reacts to Manchester City’s 0-0 draw at FC Copenhagen in the Champions League.
Man City are focused on midfield in the transfer market
Manchester City have made a central midfielder their priority ahead of next summer’s transfer window, sources have told ESPN.
The club are looking at ways to strengthen their midfield, including Borussia Dortmund teenager Jude Bellingham. City initially spent £42million to sign England midfielder Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United last summer and they are expected to invest again at the end of the season. Doubts remain about the future of Ilkay Gündogan and Bernardo Silva. Gundogan has entered the final year of his contract and could leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Bernardo, meanwhile, is still a target for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. – Rob Dawson
https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/4768613/kylian-mbappepsg-and-real-madrid-its-complicated Kylian Mbappe, PSG and Real Madrid: It’s complicated