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Rating Mbappé’s transfer options: Real Madrid or Premier League?

What next for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé? It is the question that will dominate the transfer market in 2024, with one of the best players in the world due to become a free agent when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Real Madrid are the long-term front-runners to sign the 25-year-old, but the LaLiga giants have tried and failed to prise Mbappé from PSG on a number of occasions. The Times claims that the France international is now considering his options in the Premier League next summer.

Even without a £100 million transfer fee, the financial requirements of signing a player like Mbappé would be huge, but still well within the grasp of several Premier League clubs. Even if Mbappé becomes the Premier League's first £1m-a-week player in terms of salary, the annual outlay would equate to less than Mason Mount's £55m transfer fee from Chelsea to Manchester United, or the £53m that Chelsea spent to sign Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig, so the cost of doing a deal is much less restrictive.

But with six months to go before Mbappé becomes the most sought-after free agent in football, could he really reject LaLiga for the Premier League? Here are his options and the prospects for each club.

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LIVERPOOL

Why it could happen: Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), places huge importance on assessing the long-term value of every signing the club make. Deals have to make sporting and financial sense.

As a free agent, Mbappé ticks both boxes, regardless of the sizeable outlay on wages. At 25, he could give Liverpool over five years of service and still move on for a large transfer fee in the years ahead. Liverpool's commercial power would attract more sponsors to help fund the move, so the money should not be a problem. And for Mbappé, the appeal of playing for one of the world's most iconic clubs and regularly challenging for the biggest honours, under a charismatic manager like Jurgen Klopp, is clear.

An additional element to this is the future of Mohamed Salah. If the Egypt international moves to Saudi Arabia from Anfield this summer -- Liverpool rejected a £150m offer from Al Ittihad last August -- Liverpool would have instant funds to do a deal and Mbappé could be tasked with replacing one of the club's greatest ever players.

The big obstacles: While the numbers add up, the consequences of doing a deal for Mbappé would likely lead to several key players wanting to boost their own pay packets. The knock-on effect would be a rocketing wage bill and the risk of being stuck with players who become too expensive to move on.

FSG have avoided that pitfall in recent years, but signing Mbappé would put their sound financial management at risk. And if Salah stays this summer, potentially to leave as a free agent in 2025, the big question would be whether Salah and Mbappé could gel together in the same team.

Prospects of a move: 7/10

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MAN CITY

Why it could happen: If you are a top player and want to win the biggest trophies then Manchester City is the place to be. That would be City's big selling point to Mbappé, who has made it clear that he wants to win the Champions League after so many years of failure in the competition with PSG.

City have almost unmatched financial power from their owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, but their recent success in the Premier League and Champions League has turned the club into a money-making machine, so the costs of signing Mbappé would not be an issue. There is also the Pep Guardiola factor. The City manager is widely regarded as the best coach in the world, and maybe even the best ever, so players are desperate to play for him.

City first tried to sign an 18-year-old Mbappé in 2017 after he had helped Monaco eliminate them from the Champions League, but failed to thwart PSG's move. This time around, they will be ready to seal the deal.

The big obstacles: How do you fit Erling Haaland and Mbappé into the same forward line? That pairing might be a fantasy team dream, but the reality would be problematic and Guardiola is a coach who wants everything work as a collective rather than as an array of individual stars.

Guardiola's all-conquering Barcelona team of 2008 to '12 was built on that ethic in stark contrast to the far-less successful Galacticos policy of Real Madrid, who signed as many superstars as possible but failed to win the Champions League for over a decade after their success in 2002.

City have only just claimed their first UCL title so, after seven years with PSG, if Mbappé wants to sign for one of football's historic clubs then they will miss out.

Prospects of a move: 7/10

ARSENAL

Why it could happen: Arsenal are, historically, the biggest club in London and playing in London is a major draw for the world's top players -- a world-class city with everything they could possibly need on their doorstep. But while playing in London would have obvious appeal for Mbappé -- the Eurostar train between London and Paris takes just over two hours -- it is likely that football prospects will be top of his list of priorities.

And while the Gunners are yet to reach City and Liverpool's levels of recent success, they are a team that is developing fast under Mikel Arteta. They also need a proven goal-scorer, and Mbappé could be the man to solve that problem.

If Arsenal sold Mbappé the vision of emulating Thierry Henry as the club's superstar -- a player who could lead Arteta's young team to success -- it could be a compelling pitch.

The big obstacles: Despite their status as one of England's most successful clubs and the best-supported team in the capital, Arsenal traditionally fail to punch their weight in the transfer market.

But would they have the ambition to compete for Mbappé? Perhaps the £100m signing of Declan Rice in the summer signalled a new direction in their goals, but a superstar like Mbappé would be on a completely different level to the former West Ham United midfielder.

Arsenal would not be Mbappé's top choice in the Premier League, so the Gunners would need to be creative in order to sign him.

Prospects of a move: 5/10

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MAN UNITED

Why it could happen: Manchester United are the biggest club in the biggest league in the world and have never shied away from paying big wages -- an issue that has been to their detriment in recent years. And, set for a change of direction when Sir Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos group takes charge of football operations in the coming weeks, the prospect of launching the new era with a superstar signing like Mbappé would be a huge statement of intent.

Despite over 10 years of decline and relative failure since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager, United remain a global power because of their history. They are the Dallas Cowboys or L.A. Lakers of the Premier League and the chance to be the player that re-ignites the club's glory years -- a modern-day version of the legendary Eric Cantona, perhaps -- might be tempting for Mbappé.

The big obstacles: Let's cut to the chase: United are nowhere near competitive enough right now to tempt Mbappé to Old Trafford. They may be a club steeped in history and glamour, but you have to dig deep to find either of those qualities following a decade of chaos.

After failing to even compete for the signings of Harry Kane (who instead joined Bayern Munich) and Rice (Arsenal) last summer, United appear to be struck by a crisis of confidence in the transfer market and it's hard to see that changing so early in Ratcliffe's new era.

Prospects of a move: 2/10

CHELSEA

Why it could happen: Arsenal might be London's biggest club, but Chelsea are the glamour team and have a recent pedigree of success in Europe, winning both the Champions League and Europa League.

Since being taken over by the Todd Boehly-led consortium including Clearlake Capital in May 2022, Chelsea have spent over £1 billion on the world's emerging talent in the last three transfer windows, including £100m-plus deals for midfielders Enzo Fernández and Moisés Caicedo.

And although the club have to be careful of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations due to their huge spending, Mbappé's status as a free agent this summer would enable the Blues to make a move.

The big obstacles: Mbappé could justifiably question Chelsea's readiness to compete in the years to come and whether they are the perennial force of the Roman Abramovich era or a club that are still trying to find a formula for success under new owners.

And although Mbappé reportedly enjoyed a good relationship with Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino during their time together at PSG, there are no guarantees that the coach will be at Stamford Bridge long enough for their bond to develop further.

For a player in a hurry to win the biggest honours, a move to Chelsea would be a huge risk.

Prospects of a move: 3/10

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NEWCASTLE

Why it could happen: Newcastle have incredible financial power behind them due to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) being the club's majority owners, while Mbappé's status as a free agent would enable them to work around FFP issues.

As a club that need to grow their commercial revenue and global presence in order to become more competitive in the transfer market, Newcastle would fast track that objective with Mbappé's arrival. The forward has seen firsthand at PSG how the financial impact of owners from the Middle East can make a difference and could be tempted to repeat it with Newcastle.

The big obstacles: A move for Mbappé has probably come five years too soon for Newcastle. The club have huge ambitions and will likely realise them as money from Saudi Arabia begins to make a difference at St James' Park. But, at 25, Mbappé would be gambling on his ambitions if he moved there this summer.

There is also the reality that, after so long as the face of the PSG project under Qatari ownership, the appeal of doing that again for Saudi Arabia and Newcastle is potentially more of a negative than positive for Mbappé. Newcastle are quite simply not competitive enough at this stage for the player to even consider a move.

Prospects of a move: 1/10

REAL MADRID

Why it could happen: Real Madrid have spent years doing the groundwork with Mbappé and he knows that club president Florentino Perez is desperate to make him the centrepiece of the team after Karim Benzema's exit to Saudi Arabia last summer.

If Mbappé signs for Madrid, he knows the club will challenge for the Champions League every year and he will also be a regular frontrunner to win the Ballon d'Or award. They are the biggest and most glamorous club in the world, they win big trophies and already have a growing superstar (Jude Bellingham) in their team who can push them forward.

Madrid are in pole position to sign Mbappé and it will be down to them if they blow it again.

The big obstacles: The major issue is the prospect of a Premier League team beating them with a huge financial offer. That is possible, but Madrid hold all the cards and the latest speculation surrounding their move for Mbappé -- wildly contrasting stories of deals being done or the deal being off -- points to attempts by both sides to strengthen their position in negotiations.

But if Madrid fail to seal a pre-contract agreement with Mbappé this month, the threat from City and Liverpool in particular will grow, so they need to make progress.

Prospects of a move: 9/10

    

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