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Kylian Mbappe’s next club: Ranking options with Real Madrid, Liverpool, Arsenal and Saudi Arabia linked

The answer to the longstanding question of whether or not Kylian Mbappe will leave Paris Saint-Germain has been answered, but with his exit now imminent, it will soon be time for the player to answer another big question: Where will he go?

As one of the best players in the game, there’s no shortage of clubs that would not dream of having Mbappe on their books but his elite status and corresponding wage bill means there are only a handful of destinations for him. The list of long-rumored destinations for the star has always been a short one and has almost exclusively been led by Real Madrid. Mbappe also reportedly has suitors in the Premier League, where Liverpool could be the likeliest landing spot — but perhaps not the only realistic one. 

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With Mbappe slated to switch out one of Europe’s biggest clubs for another, here’s a ranking of the clubs he could possibly play for next season.

Honorable mention: Al-Hilal

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Mbappe will probably stick around in Europe for the foreseeable future. He indicated as much last summer, when Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal came in with a staggering offer. They were willing to offer PSG a $300 million-plus transfer fee and pay Mbappe nearly $1 billion, but he quickly turned them down and they lined up his ex-teammate Neymar instead. It seemed like an incredibly unlikely move from the start and if a story remotely resembling this pops up during the next few months, it will likely be further from reality than last summer’s attempt.

3. Arsenal

Arsenal joined the list of high-profile clubs who were name-dropped alongside Mbappe this week when a report from The Independent suggested that the player would not mind following in the footsteps of fellow France World Cup winner Thierry Henry, who is one of the London club’s all-time greats. That said, Arsenal seems like the best-positioned of a group of clubs that, if you squint really hard, could conceivably land Mbappe’s signature. It would take a lot for that to happen, and so it probably will not.

Clubs like Arsenal would have to move their money, shift their squad and use their soft power in all the right ways, and they seemingly have an advantage in the latter category with the Henry connection. Like probably every other club on the planet, they would likely be willing to build their team around Mbappe’s talents and he would improve their attacking options. This still feels closer to a pipe dream than a reality, and a move to a team on the cusp of something rather than one with a recent history of winning big titles would feel a little bit like a head-scratcher at the moment.

2. Liverpool

Liverpool have been teased as Mbappe’s most likely destination should he end up going to the Premier League, perhaps for the most obvious reason of all: the squad is in rebuild mode, and there’s an obvious spot open for him in the lineup.

Jurgen Klopp began a refresh of Liverpool’s squad this season and has pulled it off so far since the Reds are the current league leaders and still in the race to do a quadruple. The manager’s departure at the end of the season, though, could usher in a new chapter of the rebuild — including one that does not include Mohamed Salah. The 31-year-old has been the leader of their front line for years and is still excelling at the job with 14 goals and eight assists in league play this season but could be on his way to Saudi Arabia after Liverpool turned down a nine-figure deal for his services last summer.

It would be a surprisingly splashy purchase for a club that has not recently been in the conversation for players considered the best in the game, but their success under Klopp speaks for itself, as does their ability to spend wisely.

1. Real Madrid

Real Madrid do not necessarily need Mbappe, from a tactical perspective. Jude Bellingham is still scoring goals at a ridiculous rate, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo are in impressive form and Endrick is on his way. Plus, if you’ve been watching Real Madrid games lately, the attack is far from their problems. That does not mean the club have not tried to lure him away from Paris and whether or not they succeed in signing him, they have accomplished one thing — appearing as his most suitable destination.

Whether or not Mbappe will end up at Real Madrid will most likely come down to contract negotiations rather than anything intangible outside of that, but the club have won the vibes battle in the public sphere. Real Madrid have always been good at positioning themselves as a super club and so landing the game’s biggest superstar is something they have always argued just feels right.

That’s not to argue that Mbappe will not be a valuable contributor in terms of the tangibles like goalscoring, or will not be the focal point of an attack that already has so much quality. It is just worth pointing out that Los Blancos appear more eager than any other club to create a superteam — a bit like the PSG team that once had Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar. It just means that this is their transfer saga to lose — and it still might require some work considering members of Mbappe’s camp are reportedly unhappy with their latest offer.

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