Kylian Mbappe has officially snubbed Real Madrid and put pen to paper on a new Paris-Saint Germain deal that keeps him at the club past his 26th birthday.
It’s a rarity that Los Blancos miss out on a top transfer target. Never mind one that they have courted for the best part of two years and were fully convinced they had a deal agreed in principle with.
You can bet Florentino Perez has took the enormous ‘L’ rather badly if we know anything about the demanding Madrid president.
However, one thing we can be even more certain of, is that he will be determined to strike back with vengeance.
La Liga have reportedly already initiated legal proceedings against the French champions, so it looks we won’t be hearing the end of the matter anytime soon.
Regardless of what happens on that front, though, Mbappe will not be presented to the Bernabeu crowd this summer – if ever…
Which begs the question as to how Perez will look to bolster his squad for next season.
Let’s be real, they won’t be getting anyone as sought after as Mbappe, his nearest rival in that department has just penned a deal with Manchester City – but European football is still glistening with world class talent ripe to be picked for the recently open Galactico vacancy.
Let’s check out what 10 of the best options in that department could be.
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Salah has often being linked with a move to the Spanish capital and this could prove their greatest opportunity yet to entice the Egyptian King.
The Liverpool star has been at odds with his club over their refusal to meet his wage demands for a prolonged period of time now, and it seems a transfer could be a very realistic option with just 12 months left on his existing deal.
Fenway Sports Group run a tight ship at Liverpool and two of their main policies involve working to the club’s set wage structure and signing younger players who’s transfer value is likely to increase.
Offering Salah, who turns 30 next month, a three or four year contract paying somewhere in the region of £400k-per-week just doesn’t fit with the way they run the club.
It’s likely that they would be willing to listen to offers in the region of £80-£110 million should Madrid come knocking.
Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur
This transfer would be considerably more difficult to make happen now than it would have been last summer.
The England captain was, let’s be honest, doing everything short of kicking and screaming to get his way out of the club prior to the commencement of the 2021/2022 Premier League.
However, it seems the exceptional quality of Antonio Conte, combined with the high probability that the club will secure Champions League football for next season, has been enough to sway Kane back in favour.
You never know, though, should Perez arrive on the scene with a gargantuan transfer off that is simply too good for Daniel Levy to turn down, Madrid could be lining up next season with what would be a lethal attacking duo in Karim Benzema and Kane.
Frightening, although admittedly, unlikely.
Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
The Polish hitman will celebrate his 34th birthday in August so he most likely won’t be the first choice from this list, but there are some obvious benefits to bringing him in.
Firstly, he has publicly stated his desire to leave Bayern Munich and with just one year remaining on his existing deal, they should be able to snap him up for a cut-price fee.
Barcelona are rumoured to be keen on securing his services, which again, is another benefit should Madrid pull a fast one on their arch-nemesis.
The biggest advantage of bringing him in? That’s obvious. Goals.
Lewandowski has scored 344 goals in 374 games for the Bavarian club. Even if Madrid get two seasons out of him at that rate, signing him would have been of tremendous benefit.
Sadio Mane – Liverpool
Should they not want Salah, maybe Madrid go for Liverpool’s other attacking star.
Mane – who’s contract runs out at the same time as Salah 12 months from now – has reportedly been unsettled due to a lack of action regarding his new deal.
It seems Liverpool might have been over prioritising his teammate and plenty of rumours have been linking the Senegalese star to Bayern and PSG.
It’s highly unlikely Liverpool would be willing to let both him and Salah go, but there is sure to be plenty of suitors for either party given the calibre of player on offer.
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
Man City were knocked out of the Champions League for the umpteenth time a couple of weeks ago – could it be time for KDB to finally jump ship?
Look, we know City are potentially the best team in the world but the Belgian icon has won everything there is to win in the UK.
The time could be right for him to try his hand with one of football’s most prestigious clubs as he looks to cement his legacy.
His deal runs till 2025 in Manchester so it would likely to take at least £150 million to steal him away from Pep Guardiola, potentially even more…
Neymar – Paris-Saint Germain
Neymar has been in Paris too long now, hasn’t he? It would actually be a breath of fresh air to see him sporting some new colours.
The Brazilian left Barcelona to get out of Messi’s shadow, which is ironic, because he just ended up under Mbappe’s, and now he is under both Messi’s and Mbappe’s… go figure.
We’re not suggesting Neymar isn’t one of the best players in the world in his own right, but there can be no denying that he has flattered to deceive in the last few seasons.
Now 30, it’s getting to the point where it’s now or never if Neymar wants to elevate himself into the echelons of footballing greatness.
A move to Real Madrid could be the answer.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United
The Madridstas would probably do anything to bring back their beloved son, Cristiano.
He is undoubtedly the greatest player ever to pull on the white shirt, and so to come back in sensational fashion at the age of 37 would be something else.
The appointment of Erik ten Hag at United could help that prophecy come true. The Dutchman has been critical of the Portuguese icon in the past, and suggestions made by Ralf Rangnick regarding Ronaldo’s inability to press could create further question marks over his suitability for the Premier League.
With just a year to go on his contract, we reckon it wouldn’t take much at all to convince Ten Hag to move Ronaldo along.
If he can withstand the backlash from United fans, that is.
Joao Felix – Atletico Madrid
We’ve seen Atletico sell Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona for big bucks in recent times, maybe they would consider the same with their young superstar Felix.
Simeone smashed Atleti’s transfer record in 2019 by signing the Portuguese from Benfica in a deal worth £113 million.
And whilst he has shown signs of incredible promise, he certainly hasn’t justified that price tag yet. Still only 22 and contracted until 2026, Felix could still blossom into one of the world’s finest.
Aurélien Tchouaméni – Monaco
The 22-year-old French midfielder is prime real estate this summer with a plethora of clubs looking to secure his services.
According to ESPN, Madrid are stepping up their pursuit of the Monaco man, however Liverpool and Chelsea remain interested parties and will fight Los Blancos for his signature.
A fee in the region of £70 million is likely required to secure his services.
He could prove the ideal partner for Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park for years to come.
Paul Pogba – Free
The prospect of signing Pogba on a free is still mind-boggling given how good the guy is.
With his talent, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him step into the Madrid midfield and look like the best midfielder on planet earth for the next half a decade.
In truth, it’s a no-brainer. Although, they might have to bat off interest from PSG, Juventus and Chelsea to get the star signed up.