Four of the world’s top footballers – Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba are all at the end, or within a year of the end of their contracts.
This makes this summer’s transfer window quite unique and what complicates it even further is the financial constraints brought about by the impact of Covid-19 on football.
As of today, Messi is a free agent.
And the French football world has been rocked this morning as well amid news that Mbappe does not want to extend his contract with Paris St Germain.
‘Kylian Mbappé has informed some members of PSG, that as things stand, he will not extend. But he will respect his last year of contract.,’ reports L’Equipe.
And while this is highly unlikely to have a direct impact on Manchester United – there are no serious reports linking the club with the 22-year-old – it could have a profound knock-on effect on the future of Pogba and also on the Reds’ pursuit of Real Madrid defender, Raphael Varane.
PSG’s president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi has gone public in saying he will not sell the forward at any price but it would be quite a statement to let him go for free in a year’s time. Now is therefore the time for the Frenchman’s prime suitors, Real Madrid, who had recently appeared to accept defeat on the issue, to test the water with a tasty offer that could persuade the Qataris to cut their losses.
It would also soften the blow somewhat if PSG were to sign Ronaldo, Messi, Pogba or all three – which as things stand is not completely impossible.
But for Real to land Mbappe this summer, funds will have to be raised, which puts the sale of wantaway Varane very much back on the agenda. This strengthens United’s position considerably on that transaction.
And if Al-Khelaïfi sticks to his guns and Mbappe stays, even for one more season, then Real could turn to Pogba to be their marquee signing this summer.
Either way, following an impressive showing at Euro 2020, Pogba could be in demand in the next few weeks. Also, he himself could ‘do a Mbappe’ and simply run down his contract at his current club.
United for their part will almost certainly not ‘do an Al-Khelaïfi’ and refuse to sell their star, but as is the case for PSG, there will be simply nothing they can do if he just chooses to play out his last year at United.
Meanwhile, over in Italy, if Ronaldo does join PSG – who are fast becoming football’s Harlem Globetrotters – Juventus, too, will have money in their pocket to make another push for their beloved Pogba, who is reportedly their ‘dream’ signing.
How this will all pan out is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: it all makes for a fascinating summer ahead on the transfer market.