SPORTS DESK : 6 JULY, 2023, 7:53 PM
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser al-Khelaifi on Wednesday insisted superstar forward Kylian Mbappe “must sign a new contract” if he wants to remain at the club next season.
“The position is very clear. If Kylian wants to stay, he must sign a new contract. We can’t let the best player in the world today leave for free. It’s impossible,” Khelaifi said when asked about the France forward after Luis Enrique was unveiled as the club’s new coach.
“He said he would not leave for free. If somebody has changed his mind, that is not my fault.”
Mbappe declared last month that he would not extend his contract, which expires next year, but has indicated he wants to remain for a final season.
The club must therefore sell the player in this transfer window, otherwise they will likely lose him for nothing when his deal ends after next season.
Mbappe joined PSG from Monaco in August 2017 in a 180 million-euro ($196m) deal and has gone on to establish himself as one of the world’s most prominent players.
He scored a hat-trick in France’s 2022 World Cup final defeat to Argentina before helping PSG win a record 11th French title.
He was Ligue 1’s top scorer last season with 29 goals and netted 41 in 43 games in all competitions.
The 24-year-old was expected to leave a year ago for Real Madrid when his previous contract came to an end, only to agree a new deal to remain in Paris.
That was a two-year contract with the option of a third season which would take him to 2025, which the player has said he would not take up, even if he has indicated his intention to see out his existing deal.
“I said that next year I will play for PSG. I still have a year left on my contract and I am going to honour my contract,” Mbappe said in May.
Luis Enrique, who has signed a two-year contract in Paris to take over as coach from Christophe Galtier, was evasive when asked on Wednesday if he received any guarantees that Mbappe would remain for the coming campaign.
However, he later said that he was “counting on all the players who are under contract”. -BSS
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