After narrowly missing out on signing Lionel Messi, Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal has made an astounding €300 million ($332 million) bid for French striker Kylian Mbappe. If successful, this offer could see the young talent join Cristiano Ronaldo in the oil-rich kingdom.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Mbappe’s current club, confirmed receiving the bid and has granted Al-Hilal permission to engage in direct negotiations with the player. The 2018 World Cup winner is currently in a contract standoff with PSG, having opted not to extend his deal by 12 months. Instead, Mbappe intends to become a free agent at the end of the upcoming season, amid widespread expectations that he will join Real Madrid.
In response to the contract dispute, PSG has left Mbappe out of its preseason tour of Japan, signalling their determination to sell the player unless he commits to a new contract. The tension between the 24-year-old striker and the French club continues to mount, making a new deal increasingly unlikely.
The ambitious bid by Al-Hilal underscores Saudi Arabia’s recent efforts to make its mark in international sports. The country’s investment has already seen Cristiano Ronaldo join the Saudi-funded LIV Golf, causing a significant stir in professional golf circles.
Kylian Mbappe’s Record-Breaking Potential Transfer
These moves are part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision to utilize the kingdom’s oil wealth to create employment opportunities for the country’s youth and boost its global image. However, critics argue that such endeavors are merely “sportswashing,” designed to enhance Saudi Arabia’s reputation while overlooking issues such as human rights violations and the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
The bid for Mbappe comes after a failed attempt by Al-Hilal to secure Lionel Messi‘s signature earlier this year, with the Argentine forward ultimately opting to join Inter Miami.
If the bid is successful, Kylian Mbappe would become the most expensive soccer player in history, surpassing the previous record set by Neymar when PSG paid €222 million ($262 million) to acquire the Brazilian from Barcelona in 2017.
As the negotiations unfold, the global soccer community is closely monitoring the developments surrounding Kylian Mbappe’s future, while Saudi Arabia’s increased presence in international sports continues to raise questions and draw both admiration and criticism.