Paris-Saint Germain’s star striker keen to quit French club in January transfer window after being reportedly unhappy with new coach Christophe Galtier
PSG’s Kylian Mbappe wears a dejected look during their 1-1 draw with Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday. Pic/Getty Images
Less than five months after Kylian Mbappe signed a new three-year contract to supposedly end the uncertainty about his future, Paris Saint-Germain are once again facing up to the possibility of losing the France superstar.
Uproar in French capital
The Qatar-owned club sit top of Ligue 1 and their Champions League group, but all is not well in the French capital with a raft of reasons given for Mbappe reportedly wanting away. It has completely overshadowed PSG’s build-up to Sunday’s game against bitter rivals Marseille. The speculation started on Tuesday, hours before Christophe Galtier’s team hosted Benfica in the Champions League, with Spanish sports daily Marca and several French media reporting that Mbappe wants to leave as early as the January transfer window. Mbappe has in recent weeks let it be known publicly that he is unhappy with the position he has been asked to play in new coach Galtier’s system, pointing out after playing for France last month that he has “much more freedom” playing for his country.
Mbappe still scored his 12th goal of the season for PSG as they drew 1-1 with Benfica, but it is believed he is disappointed the club did not sign a top-class centre-forward in the close season — for example Robert Lewandowski, who went to Barcelona.
PSG’s football advisor Luis Campos told Canal Plus that Mbappe had “never spoken to me about leaving in January”. However, that was before the investigative website Mediapart reported on Wednesday that an agency called Digital Big Brother (DBB) had worked on behalf of PSG to deploy a series of Twitter accounts with the task of boosting the club’s image.
The work involved going after a number of targets earmarked by the club, including a supporter slapped by Neymar after PSG lost the 2019 French Cup final and a woman who accused the Brazilian of raping her. But there were also internal targets, such as Adrien Rabiot — now with Juventus — and Mbappe himself.
PSG board still hopeful
“We worked for PSG. It bothers us for our reputation that PSG deny working with us,” Frederic Geldhof, who worked for a subsidiary of DBB called UReputation, told AFP. PSG have “firmly” denied the allegations that they asked the agency to work on their behalf. “We were doing everything to get him to extend his contract. We were not going to secretly troll him,” one source, formerly connected to the PSG board, told AFP of the claims Mbappe was targeted.
The affair carries similarities to the ‘Barcagate’ scandal which saw Barcelona allegedly hire a company to smear opponents of the club’s board on social media. It may do little to help the relationship between PSG and their biggest star, even if there is surely little prospect of the club agreeing to sell Mbappe in January.
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