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HomeLigue 1Is he staying after all? Mbappé's "coded message" fuels speculation

Is he staying after all? Mbappé’s “coded message” fuels speculation

Kylian Mbappé (23) continues to keep his future under wraps. Recent statements are now fuelling speculation about a contract extension at Paris St Germain.

Just as he is currently playing cat and mouse with his opponents, Kylian Mbappé is doing the same with all those who want to know where the attacker will be playing next season. The 23-year-old continues to refrain from making clear statements. And so it comes as little surprise that an interview after the 3-1 home victory over Saint-Etienne – Mbappé was once again the outstanding man on the pitch with two goals and an assist – is now making comparatively big waves. Because it leaves a certain amount of room for interpretation.

With his goals in 155 and 156 competitive games for PSG, Mbappé caught up with a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Sunday in the club’s internal record goalscorer list. Only Edinson Cavani is ahead of the pair with exactly 200. Asked about this on French television, Mbappé said, “To become PSG’s top scorer, that would be nothing to sneeze at. We’ll see what happens.” He added: “I’ve always aimed to be number one, even if I have to keep trying to work towards it. There are still games, after all. “

Mbappé, currently brimming with confidence, should also be aware that Cavani’s mark will not fall again this season. After that, the contract of the courted attacker expires and the transfer to Real Madrid seemed to be a done deal. In the meantime, some doubts have mixed into the mood, which have now been given a further boost by Mbappé’s vague statements.

The Spanish newspaper AS wrote of a “coded message” sent by the 2018 World Cup winner, while the French newspaper L’Equipe even ran the headline “Mbappé opens the door to a contract extension”. According to the newspaper, the striker has not yet decided between Real and PSG, and his statements are to be understood as an expression that an extension in the French capital is a realistic option for the exceptional player.

Ultras unroll banner for Mbappé

Reports that are particularly explosive ahead of the decisive second leg between the two teams next week. But they also do not mean that Mbappé will stay in Paris. Most recently, Le Parisien reported that PSG were having problems providing Mbappé with the right arguments to stay, but were still desperately trying. A banner rolled out by the capital club’s ultras against St Etienne, alluding to Mbappé’s origins in a Parisian suburb, matched this: “From Bondy to Paris: Kylian, your story is being written here”.

Whether Kylian’s story will indeed continue to play out in the French capital from the summer onwards seems at least more open than it has been for a long time. Former France international and PSG insider Jerome Rothen recently said the likelihood of Mbappé moving to Real had dropped from 99 per cent last summer to around 65 per cent.

But is the drive to break Cavani’s mark really enough for an extension? Mbappé, at least, was adamant that he was not “obsessed” with becoming PSG’s record goalscorer. “I’m obsessed with titles, with the Champions League, with the tenth championship in Ligue 1. And if I stay focused, I’ll score more goals.”

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