Kylian Mbappe has confirmed that he told Paris Saint-Germain he wanted to leave in July and admitted that Real Madrid are the only side he would have joined.
Mbappe's future was the subject of much speculation over the summer as he emerged as a primary target for Madrid, who submitted multiple bids for his services.
The Spanish giants' final offer reportedly came in at over €220 million (£188m/$255m), but PSG refused to sanction the striker's departure, despite the fact he continued to stall on signing a new contract at Parc des Princes.
What has been said?
PSG sporting director Leonardo admitted that Mbappe had requested a transfer after the summer window closed, while also accusing Madrid of using underhand tactics in their pursuit of the World Cup winner.
Mbappe has now confirmed that he expressed his desire to move on, but has dismissed any suggestion that he also rejected several chances to sign fresh terms with the Ligue 1 club.
The France international told RMC Sport : "People said I turned down six or seven extension offers, that I don't want to talk to Leonardo anymore, that's absolutely not true.
"I asked to leave, because from the moment I did not want to extend, I wanted the club to have a transfer fee to be able to sign a quality replacement.
"It is a club which has given me a lot, I have always been happy, the four years that I spent here, and I still am. I announced it early enough that the club can react.
"I wanted everyone to come out of this stronger, that we leave hand in hand, to make a good deal, and I respected that. I said, 'if you don't don't want me to leave, I will stay'."
Mbappe may be on good terms with his bosses at PSG at present, but he did add that he felt uncomfortable when president Al-Khelaifi said that he wouldn't be able to leave for free.
He said: “It's scary when your president says: 'He's never going to go free'. When I heard that, I swallowed hard. I thought, 'So what's going to happen now?'."
Who would Mbappe have joined?
Any club in world football would be happy to throw open its doors to Mbappe, but few can realistically claim to stand any chance of putting a deal in place.
For now, only La Liga giants at Santiago Bernabeu are in the running, with a 22-year-old superstar viewing them as the “logical next step”.
Mbappe told L’Equipe when asked about why he was looking for a way out of PSG: “I thought that my adventure was over. I wanted to discover something else. I’d been in the French league six or seven years.
“I’ve given what I tried to at Paris and I think I’ve done it well. To arrive at 18 post-youth development and do everything I have, I think that’s something remarkable. But everyone is free to draw the conclusions they want but that’s my assessment. Leaving was the logical next step.”
On whether he wanted to leave regardless of the possible destinations on offer, Mbappe added: “No, I am attached to Paris, and if I had left this summer it would have only been for Real.”
Will Mbappe leave in 2022?
As it stands, Mbappe will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any potential suitors in January, and it has been reported that Madrid are first in line to snap him up on a free transfer.
Blancos stars such as Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos have added fuel to those exit rumours by publicly welcoming the prospect of the 22-year-old's arrival at Santiago Bernabeu, but PSG remain confident that a prized asset can be convinced to stay put.
Leonardo addressed Mbappe's situation once again last month, telling Canal Plus: "I don't see Mbappe leaving at the end of this season. Nobody is thinking about the future of Paris Saint-Germain without Kylian."
Mbappe has knuckled down and focused on his duties at PSG despite the ongoing transfer saga, recording four goals and three assists in 11 appearances across all competitions at the start of the 2021-22 campaign.
He told L'Equipe when asked if he could end up staying in the French capital: "I’ve been in football long enough now to know that yesterday’s truth is not necessarily today’s, nor tomorrow’s. If I was told that Messi was going to play at PSG, I wouldn’t have believed it, so you never know what’s going to happen."