Kylian Mbappé will still be a Paris Saint-Germain player next season, at least according to the club's President, Nasser Al Khelaifi.
The World Cup winner with France has followed in the footsteps of teammate Neymar and begun agitating for a potential move away from the Parc des Princes. After being crowned the Ligue 1 player of 2018-19, Mbappé began nodding towards the PSG exit door. "It's very important moment for me, I come to a turning point in my career", he told the assembled media.
"I have discovered a lot here, and I feel it is perhaps the moment to have more responsibility.
"I hope that can maybe be at Paris Saint-Germain, that would be a great pleasure, or perhaps elsewhere with a new project."
Mbappé has won two Ligue 1 titles since his summer 2017 move from Monaco. However, with Real Madrid appearing to be writing cheques for fun in recent weeks, talk of a move to the Spanish capital for the 20-year old had ramped-up again.
However, speaking to France Football, Al Khelaifi says Mbappé will be afforded every opportunity to grow at PSG, "He wants to be involved in our project to grow with the team, the club. But I have explained to him that you do not ask for responsibility.
"You have to go and get it, sometimes even tear it off from somewhere else. You don’t wait, you provoke. As he is very intelligent, I am sure that he has understood
"I am not 100% sure, but 200% sure (that he will not be leaving). I am not going to let go of this unbelievable player."
Al Khelaifi's certainty seems to tally with a rowing-back of sorts by Mbappé in recent days, shooting down the notion he'd handed a list of demands to the PSG hierarchy. In a sadly Trumpian move, Mbappé described TransferChecker's 'story' as "fake news".
Sorry you forgot something, Kylian Mbappé want to play goalkeeper 😁
FAKE NEWS ❌❌❌❌❌
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) June 12, 2019
Domestic success has not been followed by big European performances, with PSG exiting the Champions League at the last-16 stage in each of the last three seasons. Leonardo has returned to the club for a second spell as sporting director, replacing Antero Henrique. And Al Khelaifi hopes that's one change that can have a trickle-down effect at the club, "We all lacked character and authority. Me first, I recognise this. I am not escaping from my responsibilities. I am the first guilty party."
"I neither want to hide nor put the blame on the others, the players and the coach. Things didn’t work this season and it is my fault first. But things are going to change now."
The 'star' culture that has bred at Paris Saint-Germain over the course of the last two seasons (since the arrivals of Neymar and Mbappé) appears to be something that grates with the president, "The squad needs to rediscover rigour. If a player makes a mistake, Leonardo will not play nice and he will make him understand that the club is majorly more important than him.
The player are going to have to assume their responsibilities more than ever before. "I want players that are proud to wear our shirt, not players who do the job only when it suits them.
"They are not here to have fun. And if they do not agree with that, the doors are open. Ciao! I no long want superstar behaviour."
And what of Neymar? The Brazilian is sitting out the Copa America due to an ankle injury, and he's also pleading his innocence against a rape charge in Sao Paulo. The 27-year old is another who has been seemingly itching for a move away from Paris, and Al Khelaifi seems somewhat willing to cash-in on his asset, "I want players that are ready to give everything to defend the honour of our shirt and who sign up to the club’s project.
"Those who do not want to, or do not understand it, we meet and we speak. There are of course contracts to respect, but the priority now is complete commitment to our project.
"Nobody forced him to sign here. Nobody pushed him to. He came with a fully understanding of the cause to sign up to a project."