Manchester United could sign Kylian Mbappe from PSG, thanks to this outlandish theory
Manchester United signing PSG star Kylian Mbappe? It sounds far too bonkers to be true… right?
Manchester United No.7, Kylian Mbappe. It has quite the ring to it, doesn't it? And it might not be entirely beyond the realms of possibility.
When King Kylian signed that monster contract with Paris Saint-Germain, it looked like he had locked himself to the club for the forseeable future. He's probably the highest earner in Europe, has a say in how PSG is run and even the president of France helped convince him to stay. Imagine Rishi Sunak telling Harry Kane to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.
Yet in October, Mbappe apparently changed his mind over staying in Ligue 1 (opens in new tab) – and we're here, once more, discussing his future. Only this time, there's actually a viable destination on the cards…
Manchester United and PSG could be affiliated soon, as "referenced" by Kylian Mbappe, himself
In an Instagram (opens in new tab) post after PSG's loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Mbappe wrote in French: “All that remains to be done.” Weirdly, though, when you translate that, Insta's language matrix adds, “Manchester United’s team is now on PSG.”
Mbappe isn't lying, mind. United are set to receive a bid in the coming days (opens in new tab) from the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani – who owns PSG. Despite rules that say that two teams owned by the same owner can't compete against one another in UEFA competition, according to the Guardian (opens in new tab), "A solution is being sought, the current one being to demonstrate that United would not be administered by the same structure and personnel as PSG".
Marcus Rashford did little to cool rumours, either, commenting with a fire emoji, as United fans pondered what all this meant.
Paris Saint-Germain would rather sell to United than Real Madrid
In a world in which Manchester United and PSG both have Qatari owners, the prospect of Kylian Mbappe moving from one to the other becomes a little easier.
Spanish outlet MARCA (opens in new tab) says that PSG refuse to sell their talismanic forward to Real Madrid, following the saga in which Mbappe almost joined them on a free transfer – PSG don't like dealing with Barcelona, either, apparently, after the Neymar deal – leaving Liverpool as the only realistic option. The Reds are the subject of Qatari interest, sure – though it seems as though their ownership, FSG, are only looking for a minority investor, as per the Athletic (opens in new tab), rather than a full sale.
United, however, would be under 100% Qatari control if this takeover goes through. They would have a clear and obvious link with PSG, too, with the French club perhaps more willing to sanction a move for Mbappe to its unofficial 'sister' club, since it doesn't sever ties with the World Cup winner. Who knows? Maybe it would just be a loan deal – or maybe there would be a clause to get Mbappe back to Paris one day before finishing his career in the Middle East.
And not only would United have PSG as allies with this new takeover, most importantly, they would have the money. Sure, it might seem like moving change from one pocket to another – but someone needs to pay Mbappe's wages and there aren't many clubs in the world who can afford it.
Mbappe, weirdly, could suit Erik ten Hag
It's easy to see where Kylian Mbappe fits into this Manchester United side right this second – but it's more realistic to imagine which pieces of this team are going to stick around in the Ten Hag era and work from there.
Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes, obviously, have at least two or three more seasons as mainstays of this team, while in Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia at left-back, Ten Hag has two full-backs who can provide overlapping runs down the left flank beyond the left winger. Mbappe needs that to function on the left-wing: the key, though, is Rashford.
In Rashford and Mbappe, Ten Hag would have two forwards who both excel at the same thing: breaking with pace and strength, and running at defenders from the flanks (both can play either left, centre or right). So now, imagine this: United could operate with Bruno behind a front two – recalling classic diamond midfield of the early 2000s and that Monaco front two that Mbappe made his breakthrough in alongside Radamel Falcao – or more realistically, they could bring in an elite forward in the mould of what Wout Weghorst is currently offering, dropping deeper to create space for Rashford and Bruno.
Rashford, Mbappe and Bruno is a scary enough prospect: if United could sign the next Roberto Firmino, they might just have a forward line of the very elite once more. It relies on a lot of hypotheticals… but it's certainly fun to picture.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.