Tensions between Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain eased slightly on Sunday, with the star striker permitted to return to training after “constructive and positive talks” between the two sides.
Mbappe sat in the stands on Saturday night as reigning champion PSG drew 0-0 at home to Lorient due to a contract dispute. He wants to play this season and then go for free when his contract expires, but PSG wants to sell him to prevent this.
“After very constructive and positive discussions between Paris Saint-Germain and Kylian Mbappe before the PSG-Lorient match, the player has returned to training with the first-team group this (Sunday) morning,” PSG stated in a statement.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi reportedly told players at training on Sunday that Mbappe was back in the team for the season. However, Mbappe has already stated that he wants to stay and play before departing at the end of the season when his contract expires, so little has changed in that regard.
The World Cup winner was kept out of the team’s pre-season tour to Japan and South Korea, and he then trained separately from the first-team regulars last week. He might now face Toulouse on Saturday.
PSG certainly need him after winning only one of its four preseason games and appearing feeble in attack against Lorient without Mbappe and Neymar.
PSG received a world-record $332 million proposal from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal for Mbappe, who reportedly declined to meet with Al-Hilal executives in Paris last month to sign another player.
Mbappe, 24, is widely said to desire to join Real Madrid on a free transfer next season, along with a huge signing-on fee.
PSG did not clarify whether Mbappe had begun contract discussions, but good talks indicate an improvement in relations that had been more strained after Mbappe notified the club in June that he would not accept a one-year contract extension.
That must have left Al-Khelaifi perplexed and let down after making significant efforts to match Mbappe’s pay demands when he signed a new deal in May last year through 2024, with a 2025 option.
The dilemma also put new coach Luis Enrique under early criticism, since he stated on Friday that he hoped a solution could be found to keep Mbappe.
Even with Al-Khelaifi clearing the air, it’s apparent that Mbappe still has all the cards.
Even though he tweeted a welcome message online when France winger Ousmane Dembele joined PSG from Barcelona on Saturday, they will only play together for one season if Mbappe leaves next summer as planned.
However, Brazil star Neymar, as well as midfielder Marco Verratti, who did not play against Lorient, might leave PSG this summer. Both have been linked with a transfer to Saudi Arabia’s lucrative league.
So Enrique still has a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time, to get PSG ready for the start of the Champions League.