The next greatest footballer on the planet – if he’s not already – is available on a free next summer.
Yep, unless Kylian Mbappe has a dramatic change of heart and signs a new deal at Paris Saint-Germain (that isn’t going to happen), he can begin talks with any club outside France in the New Year.
How mad is that? The brilliant French striker, with 190 goals in 300 senior appearances for his clubs and country and who gets better every week, will leave PSG for absolutely nothing.
And even more bizarre is the Ligue 1 giants across the channel are relatively relaxed about being fleeced on their £150m buy from Monaco.
They are more upset their pride is being dented, that the heir to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s throne is to uproot – with Real Madrid the expected destination.
But then money is no issue in Paris. Not receiving a single euro for Mbappe – they did not even respond to Real’s €200m bid in August – barely causes a ripple to the cash flow.
That’s because they are owned by World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar, just about the wealthiest country per capita in the world.
That’s why they can line up with Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, simultaneously. PSG are a bottomless financial pit.
Just like Newcastle, now that they are owned and funded by equally-rich Saudi Arabia.
No wonder Premier League clubs are so scared and angry that the £350million takeover of the Geordies slipped through the net earlier this season.
Bar Manchester City, part the UAE sport franchise, none can compete against such limitless resources. It changes the landscape overnight.
Amid the furious backlash, Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman is resigning 18 months into the job. But it is too late to rewind. The Saudis are in the Premier League, like it or not.
The only real glimmer for the rest is they get relegated. The Toon in the Championship parks the problem for a bit.
Make no mistake, Eddie Howe has just become manager of the most-despised club in football.
Money can’t buy them love and, going into Saturday’s home clash against on-the-slide Brentford, it hadn’t been able to buy the Saudis a win either.
What it buys them in the January transfer market is equally uncertain.
Hard to imagine our outraged clubs feeling inclined to do business with the unwanted imposters.
Why help them in their hour of need? Not when this is the last opportunity for the majority to inflict a crushing off-the-pitch defeat on the feared St James Park regime.
If Newcastle go down, there is no guarantee they bounce straight back up.
Survive, though, and in the not-too-distant future, it will be the Magpies buying and off-loading the Mbappes of this world.
Without a care about the price…or lack of one.
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