Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain clinched a sensational deal to prise wonderkid Kylian Mbappe away from Monaco on Thursday in a move scheduled to become the second most expensive transfer in history.
Less than a month after the world-record arrival of Brazilian icon Neymar in the French capital, and only hours before a record-breaking transfer window closed, 18-year-old Mbappe joined PSG on a season-long loan.
The France striker is expected to sign a permanent deal for 180 million euros ($215 million) next year in a move designed to prevent PSG falling foul of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
“It is with great joy and pride that I join Paris Saint-Germain,” said Mbappe, who scored his first France goal in a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Netherlands shortly after the deal was announced.
“I really wanted to be a part of the club’s project, which is one of the most ambitious in Europe.”
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi hailed Mbappe, who exploded onto the scene last season during Monaco’s run to the French title, as a star of the future.
“Among players of his age, he is without doubt the most promising in the world,” he said.
PSG’s stunning 222 million euros capture of Neymar from Barcelona earlier this month has sent transfer fees skyrocketing across the continent.
Barcelona have already spent 105 million euros, rising to 145 million euros, to lure France starlet Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool have resisted Barcelona’s attempts to bring Philippe Coutinho to Camp Nou, rejecting three offers for Neymar’s Brazil team-mate.
But with the transfer window not closing in Spain until Friday — unlike in England, France, Germany and Italy — Barca could yet test Liverpool’s resolve again.
Both Liverpool and Arsenal missed out on Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, who starred with two goals in France’s win over Holland at Stade de France.
“I’m a Monaco player,” Lemar told Canal+. “I’m very happy there.”
Arsenal managed to hold on to star forward Alexis Sanchez after rebuffing an improved second bid for him from Manchester City, reportedly worth an initial £55 million plus add-ons.
– Barkley snubs Chelsea –
But Liverpool did succeed in tempting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain away from Arsenal, reportedly paying £35 million to sign the England midfielder on a five-year contract.
“I know my choice might come as a surprise to many and the decision to leave was tough after being a part of the club for so many years,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said in a Twitter post.
“But I feel that this move is right for the next stage in my ongoing development.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain follows Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Dominic Solanke through the door at Anfield, while Naby Keita will arrive from RB Leipzig next year in a club-record deal worth over £48 million.
Making room for the new arrivals, French centre-back Mamadou Sakho returned to Crystal Palace, where he spent part of last season on loan, in a £26 million deal, while Belgian striker Divock Origi was loaned to Wolfsburg.
Chelsea completed a £35 million deal to sign Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City, but missed out on Everton’s Ross Barkley, who allegedly changed his mind about joining the champions despite having agreed personal terms.
“After the medical we heard from Paul Martin, Ross Barkley’s agent, that he changed his mind and wanted to reconsider his position during the January window,” Everton owner majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri told Sky Sports.
Chelsea also brought in Italy right-back Davide Zappacosta from Torino.
Tottenham Hotspur completed deals for PSG right-back Serge Aurier and Swansea City striker Fernando Llorente, helping to push total Premier League spending in the window above £1.2 billion.
Spurs are believed to have paid £23 million for the controversial Aurier, who received a two-month suspended prison sentence last year for assaulting a police officer.
In an appeal to Spurs’ supporters, he said: “This is a fresh start for me and I will do everything to make the Spurs fanbase, which is huge and diverse, proud of me.”
Wilfried Bony returned from Manchester City to take Llorente’s place at Swansea, who pulled off a major coup by signing 20-year-old Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches from Bayern Munich on a season-long loan.
Sanches, voted Young Player of the Tournament at Euro 2016, will rejoin forces with Swansea manager Paul Clement, who was previously Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Bayern.
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