Mbappé to Arsenal?

How Arsenal could beat Real Madrid to Mbappé's signature 💰

He looks pretty sharp in an Arsenal kit TBF

This time, Kylian Mbappé means it.

News broke on Friday that Mbappé has told PSG he will leave the club at the end of the season when his contract expires. While the terms of Mbappé’s exit are still uncertain and the club have yet to make an official announcement, this has been more than a long time coming.

Widely considered the best player on the planet (we had him at number one), Mbappé has been linked with Real Madrid for years now. He was on the brink of leaving for the Spanish capital just two years ago, but stepped back from the ledge at the last minute after PSG offered him a $216m-per-year contract.

Emmanuel Macron influenced Mbappé to resign with PSG in 2022, telling him he’s “important for France”

A season and a half later and the 25-year-old finds himself more or less in the same exact place: a sixth Ligue 1 title, another deep tournament run with France, boatloads of money, and more heartbreak in the Champions League. 💔 

Mbappe’s lengthy CV contains everything but a UCL title, so it makes perfect sense for him to join the tournament’s perennial favorites. The Frenchman joining Los Blancos once seemed as inevitable as me waking up next Saturday with a crippling hangover, but Real Madrid’s latest offer has him weighing his options.

Real Madrid’s “lowball” offer

Florentino Perez personally extended an offer to Mbappé in early January, and – while its exact terms are still unknown – it’s reportedly not up to snuff.

  • The finances on offer are much lower than those from 2022, when Mbappé was offered a salary of $28m per year with a $140m signing bonus.

  • The deal also gives Mbappé complete control over his image rights instead of sharing that revenue stream with his teammates.

While I’d sign that contract faster than you can say Sacrebleu!, it’d actually be a pay cut for Mbappé. It’s not too shocking that he was unimpressed with the offer, opening the door for a potential move to other top clubs in Europe.

Enter Arsenal

While Real Madrid remain favorites, Arsenal have emerged as dark horse contenders for Mbappé’s signature this summer. The Gunners are one of several Premier League teams often touted as a possible landing spot for Mbappé, and Mikel Arteta seems keen on the Thierry Henry reincarnate joining his ranks.

“Why not?,” Arteta told reporters on Friday when asked if North London is a realistic destination for the forward. "If we want to be the best team, we are going to need the best talent and the best players, that is for sure."

Unfortunately for Arteta, the best players require astronomical wages that Arsenal aren’t likely able to afford. Like most teams in the Premier League, the Gunners were constrained by Profit and Sustainability Rules in January following their $251m spending spree last summer.

While a move for Mbappé would not require a transfer fee, it would certainly shatter Arsenal’s current wage structure. Bukayo Saka is the club’s highest earner on around $323,000 a week – roughly a quarter of what Mbappé makes.

Stan Kroenke has shown willingness to back Arteta’s project, but this might be one step too far; Selling his entire stake in the Colorado Rapids (valued at $350m) wouldn’t even cover Mbappé’s salary demands for two seasons. 😮 

The cause for optimism

Despite the financial unlikelihood of Mbappé donning red and white, Gooners remain hopeful.

Arsenal are, after all, an attractive destination. The Gunners are challenging for both the Premier League and the Champions League, boast world-class players in every unit, and are led by a highly-motivated young manager who has galvanized the whole club around his grandiose vision. Plus, the club is highly regarded in France, and living London sure beats the hell out of living in Liverpool (or Saudi Arabia).

Arsenal fans, probably

Arsenal’s secret weapon: Mbappé played at the same club in his youth as William Saliba, who speaks highly of his international teammate and delivered a not-so-subtle hint that he’d love for Mbappé to join him at the Emirates. 👀 

Zoom out: While an AS Bondy reunion taking place in North London is far from certain, Arsenal have as good a shot as any club not named Real Madrid. The Gunners have a 25% chance of landing Mbappé according to Transfermarkt, while Liverpool are third with an 11% chance. 🤔