We assess the options for Kylian Mbappé if he eventually leaves PSG and look at where might be best for him to go next.

Kylian Mbappé has outgrown Ligue 1. It’s been evident for a few years now, to be honest. So, it wasn’t all that surprising to hear the news that he isn’t planning on extending his Paris Saint-Germain contract beyond 2024. PSG would seemingly rather sell him now than risk losing him for free in a year, and although Mbappé said on Twitter last month “I will continue next season at PSG where I am very happy,” he could be forced out the door if the club stick to their word and do everything in their power to avoid losing a generational player for nothing.

The 24-year-old has already achieved more than most will in their whole career. After helping Monaco to the Ligue 1 title in his first full season as a professional in 2016-17, he moved to PSG, where he has won the league in five of his six seasons, only failing to do so in 2020-21. He won the World Cup in 2018 before very nearly single-handedly dragging France to a second successive title in Qatar last year with an exceptional solo display against Argentina, when he became only the second player of all time to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.

He has been astonishingly consistent over the course of his entire career, developing into one of best and uniquely effective footballers in world football. Since his debut for Monaco at 16, he has scored 67 more Ligue 1 goals than anyone else (164), including more braces (33) and hat-tricks (seven) than any other player, while also having hit the woodwork the most times, too (20). He has completed more dribbles (518) than any other player, has more carries that were followed by a chance created (124) than anyone else, and more than twice as many carries that he followed with a goal (49) as any other Ligue 1 player. He also ranks second only to Ángel Di María (67) for assists (58).

He has been Ligue 1’s top scorer in each of the last five seasons – equalling the league record set by Jean-Pierre Papin at Marseille between 1988 and 1992 – and been named player of the season in four of those campaigns. People often claim Ligue 1 is an easy league, but it isn’t for most players. It certainly is for Mbappé.

He is the complete forward, and the next logical move for his career is a step up to one of the top four leagues (according to UEFA’s coefficients, the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga and Serie A are the top four leagues in Europe, and Ligue 1 is close to being overtaken by the Eredivisie in fifth place).

So, where might he end up? There are only a very small handful of clubs that could possibly afford to buy him and then pay his wages as well, and it is a fair assumption that he won’t go to Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga which, as a competition, is pretty similar to Ligue 1 in its one-sidedness.

Here, we’ve looked at some of his realistic options and attempt to work out where he might fit in best. To be clear, we are only thinking in footballing terms because we don’t know if he’d hate the rain in Manchester like Di María’s wife or if these teams can actually afford him, or even want him.

Real Madrid

Real have tried to buy Mbappé before and are looking for a new striker after Karim Benzema left for Saudi Arabia. Their president Florentino Pérez recently said the player is still a target (specifically, he said “but not for this year” though that was before the news that PSG could be open to selling). It could be a perfect match with Madrid facing the prospect of a big rebuild.

He is exactly the kind of superstar Real are known for signing and, at the peak of his powers, he would instantly improve the team. Benzema scored 25% of Real’s league goals last season and those goals need replacing. Mbappé could play through the middle and the prospect of him teaming up with Vinícius Júnior is a frightening one.

Vinícius dominates Real’s attacks, with 43% of the team’s attacking touches coming down the left flank, and they could do with someone coming in who can take some of the burden off the Brazilian.

Real Madrid attacking sides

What’s more, using our player radar tool to compare Mbappé’s 2022-23 to other players last season in Europe’s top five leagues throws up an interesting best match.

Benzema was far more than just a goalscorer for Real; he dropped to link play and left space higher up the pitch for midfield runners, making more successful layoffs than any other teammate in each of the last five seasons (since Cristiano Ronaldo left). Mbappé made 56 this season – which was 24 more than Benzema – and meant he ranked sixth in Europe’s top five leagues. The only difference between these two players is that after Mbappé makes a layoff, he uses his lethal turn of pace to break the last line and provide a threat in the penalty area. His pace would also be useful in games in Europe when Real have shown they are happy to sit back and play on the counter.

It’s going to be extremely difficult for Real Madrid to find an upgrade on Benzema, but Mbappé would unquestionably be that, and he could fit in very well indeed.

Manchester City

It might be difficult to imagine how you improve a team like Pep Guardiola’s treble-winners, but there is no way they will be resting on their laurels and assuming the team that conquered Europe this season will be good enough to do so again next.

That said, even though Mbappé would definitely improve the team, he might not actually be right for City. They just spent two years developing Jack Grealish into a world-beating left winger, while Erling Haaland has scored at a mind-boggling rate since joining last summer. That’s the left wing and centre-forward spots spoken for.

Although Mbappé has played on the right on the odd occasion earlier in his career and could do a job there, he hasn’t played a single minute there in the last three seasons in Ligue 1, and is far, far more effective through the middle or on the left.

Kylian Mbappe positions for PSG

Neither Grealish nor Haaland is suited to playing on the right, so signing Mbappé would upset the balance in City’s attack, and it would mean a huge rethink to their overall strategy. Guardiola will want to make sure his team doesn’t get complacent, but this might be too big a shake-up.

Manchester United

Let’s just pretend Mbappé is up for joining Erik ten Hag’s Old Trafford revolution for a second. He’d improve the team instantly and in dramatic fashion.

Only two teams – Chelsea and Everton – underperformed their expected goals in the Premier League last season more than United, who scored 10.7 goals fewer than they should have done from the shots they had. They have one of the best creators in the Premier League in Bruno Fernandes – he created 30 more chances in open play (98) than any other player this season – and just added another in Mason Mount, while a new striker remains a priority for the summer.

Manchester United xG map 2022-23

Fernandes played seven more through balls (35) than any other player in the Premier League this season and having Mbappé running onto his passes rather than Marcus Rashford would be a big improvement. One downside of a move from United’s perspective, however, is how much it would impact Rashford and Jadon Sancho in their development. Mbappé would play every game and Rashford would end up sharing duties out wide with Sancho and Antony. But it would still be a price worth paying if they could somehow make it happen.


Seemingly limitless money towards transfers and a manager Mbappé has already played for in Mauricio Pochettino: Chelsea doesn’t seem so unrealistic as an option, does it?

Having shifted a lot of attackers from their bloated, top-heavy squad, they have created space for Mbappé, so this might just work… as long as the Frenchman could get over not playing in Europe for a season. Chelsea haven’t had a 20-goal striker since Diego Costa in 2016-17 – the last time they won the title – and have played the last few seasons with Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku or Timo Werner leading the line. It hasn’t exactly been a disaster – they won the Champions League in 2021 – but it also wouldn’t be at all surprising if they went big on a centre-forward this summer given they were the worst-performing Premier League team in front of goal last season, scoring just 38 goals from chances worth more than 50. They have so much creative talent in their ranks that Mbappé would surely thrive.

Worst performing teams compared to xG

Pochettino’s football has developed into a more mature game since the super-intense pressing days of Espanyol, Southampton and early on at Tottenham, but he will still want to see Chelsea’s press improve next season. Only Everton and Wolves (both one) scored fewer goals following a high turnover than Chelsea in the Premier League this season (two). In Pochettino’s only full season at PSG – when he won Ligue 1 – PSG made more regains in the attacking third than any other team, and Mbappé was the team’s most prolific ball-winner high up the pitch, winning the ball 29 times – the fifth most in the entire league. Mbappé’s only full season under Pochettino was also his best for total goal involvements in his career so far (28 goals, 17 assists).

The Argentine knows how to get the best from Mbappé both with and without the ball, and we know Todd Boehly and co. like the sound of spending a lot of money on another attacker, so this one might have legs.

Follow Benzema

Okay, we said we were going to focus purely on the football, but there are so few options for Mbappé that it felt right to mention the fact he might follow the money to Saudi Arabia. If he found Ligue 1 too easy, though, he might get bored very, very quickly indeed in the Middle East.

Opta power rankings including Al Ittihad

According to the Opta Power Rankings, there are only three Saudi clubs in the top 200 teams across men’s club football. The best of those, Al Ittihad (88th), have strengthened this summer with the arrivals of Benzema, N’Golo Kanté and Jota, so they should rise a few places, but they will still be way, way below Mbappé’s level. According to the rankings, they were playing at approximately the same standard as Czech club Sparta Prague and Azerbaijani champions Qarabag this season. But, you know, money talks and all that.

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