Teen  sensation:    French striker  Kylian  Mbappe has  reportedly  signed for  Spanish club  Real Madrid  for €180m.  Reuters
Teen sensation: French striker Kylian Mbappe has reportedly signed for Spanish club Real Madrid for €180m. Reuters

Paris — Real Madrid has reportedly reached a world record deal in principle to sign 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe from Monaco for €180m, closing one of the hottest transfer sagas of the off-season.

Spanish sports daily Marca, citing sources close to the negotiations, said the gifted French teenage striker, who shot to stardom last season, is expected to join Real "in the next few days" on a six-year deal.

French newspapers Le Parisien and Nice-Matin were quick to announce that Monaco had denied the report. But in the cloak-and-dagger climate of rumour and innuendo that characterises football’s transfer operations, the latest twist revived speculation surrounding the future of Europe’s most eligible young star.

Only the rumour mill surrounding Neymar and the huge sums involved have come close to eclipsing the buzz generated by Mbappe.

Neymar, Barcelona’s 25-year-old Brazilian star, is at the centre of frenzied speculation linking him to Paris Saint-Germain for a record €222m. The likelihood of that deal looks to have receded in the past few days as the Mbappe move takes centre stage.

If it goes through, Real Madrid will have completed a major coup by snatching one of the most coveted young players in football from under the noses of top European clubs including Paris Saint-Germain and English Premier League giants Manchester City.

Real has yet to comment on the Spanish report.

But Marca, known to have strong links to the Madrid club, insisted that Real was set to pay between €150m and €160m, with add-ons of between €20m and €30m for Mbappe, dwarfing the current world transfer record of €105m Manchester United paid to lure Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016.

Real is looking to fill the void left by Alvaro Morata who has joined Premier League champions Chelsea in a deal reported to be €80m.

When asked last week about Mbappe Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane chose his words carefully, saying his squad were short of one attacker after Morata’s departure.

"I am not saying we are lacking a centre forward, but we are short of one attacker, that’s how things are," he said. "We will see how we will manage that."

If he does arrive at Zidane’s European champions, Mbappe would be on a net annual salary of €7m, Marca said.

Mbappe scored six goals in 10 Champions League outings and 16 in Ligue 1 as he exploded on to the scene in the second half of last season.

AFP

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