Qatar Sports investment smiling cheek-to-cheek

August 29, 2017

Eighteen-year-old French centre-forward, Kylian Mbappe, took European football by storm last season consequently seeing his name and a host of clubs across the continent mentioned in the same sentence.

With his desire to leave Monaco evidently clear, it became a guessing game to where the next stage of his development takes place.

In the end, raising a few eyebrows, the answer was regional powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, who should finalise a season-long loan move before signing the hottest property in the game on a permanent basis..

Mbappe, born and raised in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, will see this as a homecoming of sorts.

But he’s not the only ‘winner’ following his move with the latest big transfer of the summer also providing a number of few losers.

Winners

Qatar Sports Investments (QSi)

There’s no doubt the biggest winners are PSG themselves, having acquired the services of a wanted man, beating many of their Champions League rivals to his signature in the process.

But it’s club owner, Qatar Sports Investments (QSi), who emerge from all of this with a big smile on their face.

Not only is the move an incredible success in terms of sporting ambition, as they build a squad to bring the European Cup to the French capital, but in terms of soft power it reiterates their influence and presence in football.

Very few yield such financial power. On one hand, they sell when they want to. And on the other, if they want a player, as we’ve seen with Neymar and now Mbappe, few would bet against them.

Neymar

Speaking of the Brazilian, he can also be considered another winner.

Already in a short space of time, the former Barcelona man has shown his worth as a creative force – creating no fewer than 15 chances across three Ligue 1 appearances – this coupled with Mbappe’s finishing is a nightmare recipe for defenders up and down the country.

Ligue 1

A while ago, Claudio Ranieri, the manager of Nantes, described Mbappe’s move to PSG being good for Ligue 1.

And he would be right. By relocating north, Mbappe remains in the French top-division instead of moving abroad, which in turn maintains eyes on the competition which is surely growing now Neymar – arguably the third best footballer on the planet – is plying his trade in the league.

Marco Verratti

A player of Mbappe’s quality is a godsend for a deep-lying playmaker like Veratti.

His willingness to run in behind could see him and the Italian international subsequently forge a telepathic understanding which is certain to give opposition teams sleepless nights.

The numbers don’t lie. Since joining PSG from hometown club Pescara in 2012 he’s created an average of 1.09 chances per game whilst registering 24 assists from deep in the process.

Seen as the heir to Andrea Pirlo, when it comes to forward passes – which should heavily interest Mbappe – it currently stands at 52 per game.

France

Mbappe’s ascent from relative obscurity to centre stage has been acknowledged at senior international level.

To date, the Bondy-born footballer has earned four international caps, with his debut coming against Luxembourg in March, registering one assist in the process.

It’s not outlandish to suggest playing alongside seasoned professionals – whom he can learn from notably Neymar and Edinson Cavani – would make him a better player especially if the Parisians, like Monaco last season, go deep in the Champions League.

As far as national team boss Didier Deschamps goes, he knows at the end of the day, it’s not only PSG that his development benefits.

Stevan Jovetic

From being in transfer limbo to donning Monaco’s number 10 jersey, it’s fair to say everything’s turned out well for the Montenegrin forward.

With no future seemingly at Inter Milan, the former Manchester City striker had hoped to return to Sevilla – where he enjoyed playing on loan last season – but a deal could not be struck.

As we’ve seen many times before, things can move fast in football, with the 27-year-old about to embark on the road to nowhere before switching lanes to join the French champions.

Losers

Financial Fair Play (FFP)

UEFA introduced Financial Fair Play in 2010 with the aim of preventing clubs involved in their European competitions from spending more than they earn.

Not so long ago (in 2014), PSG were reprimanded after a sponsorship deal with Qatar’s tourist body was seen as “significantly below that submitted by the club.”

Because they spent €222m (£198m) bringing Neymar to the club this summer, PSG are naturally concerned over meeting UEFA’s FFP obligations.

So, to bypass such worry, the six-time Ligue 1 winners have agreed to sign Mbappe on loan before paying Monaco an initial €155m (£143m) in a year’s time.

Monaco

Although they’re receiving a lot of money, which they can’t touch until next summer, there’s a tinge of sadness in what has happened.

It’s one thing to lose a special talent, it’s another to sell him to a direct competitor and make no mistake about it, Monaco are PSG’s title rivals.

They were the ones, with Mbappe heavily involved, that ended their four-year period of dominance.

But this whole episode, which makes Les Monégasques nothing short of a powerless entity, is reminiscent of what has often been accused of Bayern Munich, who down the years, have gobbled up the best players of those who dare to challenge for their crown.

Julian Draxler and Lucas Moura

Mbappe arriving means one or more players will be sacrificed.

Cavani is expected to retain his number nine berth under Unai Emery, meaning Mbappe, if the Spanish tactician continues playing a 4-3-3, is expected to be fielded on the right flank with Neymar occupying the opposite (or vice versa).

Already the presence of Neymar has impacted on the involvement of Julian Draxler as well as Lucas Moura with the latter having yet to make a single appearance this season.

Angel Di Maria could also be in danger, but if he was to remain, there’s a possibility to him being utlised in midfield as well as on the flanks meaning he’ll be one of the more important squad members.

Draxler, who’s been linked with a move to Arsenal, in particular must be wondering what is happening, after establishing himself as a regular following his January move, to being on the periphery.

Fabinho

Spare a thought for Fabinho who, like Mbappe, was keen to cash in on his season of success for an adventure elsewhere.

Manchester United, for a while seemed the likely destination, but the arrival of Nemanja Matic ended their interest.

All around him are those who played an instrumental role in last season’s championship win leaving the Stade Louis II.

Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy have joined Manchester City whilst Tiemoué Bakayoko is now at Chelsea.

Staying put in the principality is by no means punishment, but for someone determined to move onto pastures new, it could feel like one.

Real Madrid and Europe’s other powerhouses

As mentioned earlier, PSG weren’t the only ones in for Mbappe.

A who’s who of European royalty, led by Real Madrid, were trailing the French wonderkid which makes this coup that little bit sweeter for Les Rouge-et-Bleu.

It’s no secret Mbappe grew up supporting Los Blancos, with his dream of playing alongside childhood idol Cristiano Ronaldo, and if things turned out different, he’d be donning their famous all-white kit.

But there were others. Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Barcelona at one stage made him a priority signing but one by one – for reasons known only to them – dropped out of the running.

All of them now will look on enviously as Mbappe, a potential future Ballon d’Or winner, enjoys his formative years in the French capital.

EDITED FROM: allfootball


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