Real Madrid fans are excited for the year 2022. Los Blancos sit atop LaLiga in Carlo Ancelotti’s second stint as manager, they won their Champions League group, and Vinicius Junior has emerged as a superstar alongside Karim Benzema. But to top it all off, Madridistas are most excited about Kylian Mbappe joining the club.
Mbappe was close to signing with Real in the summer 2021 transfer window. It all seemed like it would be a done deal by deadline day, but PSG made a surprising move. They rejected a 200 million euro offer from Los Merengues by not responding, instead choosing to turn down the money in order to pursue a Champions League title with Mbappe, Neymar, and the newly-signed Lionel Messi from Barcelona.
Moreover, PSG still have hopes that they will be able to keep Mbappe, even though the superstar forward has made it clear he wants to complete his dream move to Madrid.
So when is Kylian Mbappe going to Real Madrid? Is the move as much of a guarantee as Madridistas make it out to be?
It can be difficult to parse out these questions. Firstly, there is no such thing as a guarantee in football. Most fans can reconcile with that. But it is also dangerous to take the optimistic rhetoric of PSG decision-makers Leonardo and Nasser Al-Khelaifi at face value, especially after they rubbed Mbappe the wrong way in the summer, including with making statements insinuating the player will never leave.
The earliest Real Madrid could sign Mbappe is on January 1 when the winter transfer window opens. Mbappe has six months left on his contract, which means he, like any other impending free agent, can sign a pre-contract agreement. If he were to sign one with Los Blancos, he would leave for free in the summer 2022 window, with his deal already squared away beforehand.
Why Kylian Mbappe most likely won’t sign with Real Madrid in January
However, it is extremely unlikely for Real Madrid to sign Mbappe in January, if not impossible.
That’s because after the Champions League redraw, Real Madrid and PSG will face each other in the Round of 16. The first leg will take place on Feb. 15 at the Parc des Princes and the second leg will take place on Mar. 9.
So we have to shift the timeline backward. Instead of January being the earliest Real Madrid could sign Mbappe, a March date after the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 is the earliest a deal between Real and the Ligue 1 star could be finalized.
Even then, it may be more complicated and a few more months will have to pass before a deal is official. Remember, Mbappe was born in Paris and loves the team, even if he may have friction with management after a nervy 2021 summer window. He loves Madrid and the idea of being the main Galactico at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he has been very careful not to disrespect PSG in any way. And Los Blancos honor that, too. They have been just as careful not to rock the boat too much and wouldn’t want to expose Mbappe to the vitriol of the fans by leaking a deal prematurely.
Florentino Perez does a lot of his work in the background, as seen by how confidently the club replaced Sergio Ramos with David Alaba in last year’s free agency.
Real Madrid could sign Mbappe in March, but a later date is still more plausible
So it is possible Real and Mbappe could have a deal done before the season ends but not have anything announced until the summer, when Mbappe is officially unveiled as a Real Madrid player at the Bernabeu in the grandest fashion – the crowning jewel of the new stadium and a new era of dominance for the world’s largest club.
Madridistas should be confident Mbappe will go to Madrid, but they need to be patient. RMC Sport’s Loïc Tanzi is one of the most plugged-in reporters in France, and he says, via Hadrien Grenier of le10sport.com, that Mbappe is focused on winning this season’s Champions League and will make his move after the season ends.
Meanwhile, L’Equipe says March is the timeline for Mbappe’s decision and that the forward is set on Madrid.
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So the earliest date appears to be March, the latest being some time after the season, which would put things closer to June. The reason why it is so vague is two-fold. Not only are the timing of transfers hard to predict in general, but Mbappe may not want to lose focus on the Champions League at all.
Even after the Round of 16 when there is no longer this direct conflict between clubs, Mbappe may not want the weight of an official move hanging over his head. And he may want to be especially focused if PSG beat Real, given there would still be a UCL title to win – the title that is of paramount importance to the PSG project and Mbappe personally.
As Fabrizio Romano said, a saga of this magnitude won’t end quickly (or quietly).