After news of a world-record €300 million ($332m) transfer bid from Al Hilal sent shockwaves around the football world on Monday, Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe made his first reference to a possible move to the Saudi Pro League in a response to NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
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PSG confirmed on Monday that they accepted the bid for Mbappe and have given the France international permission to negotiate with Al Hilal. However, sources have also told ESPN that the 24-year-old is not interested in moving to Saudi Arabia as things stand.
After snubbing a 12-month extension to his deal at PSG, Mbappe stands to leave the club for nothing next summer, with Real Madrid his likely destination. Though they still hope to convince their star man to sign a new contract, Les Parisiens have cut Mbappe from their preseason tour squad and have him training with the reserves until a solution to the stand-off is found.
It is reported that the contract on offer from Al Hilal is for just one year — thus allowing Mbappe to join Real Madrid in summer 2024 as planned — and land the France international a truly eye-watering salary package of €700m ($776m).
While Mbappe has maintained radio silence about the whole affair, one fellow sporting star raised his head above the parapet and volunteered to join Al Hilal on the basis that he could pass for the PSG forward.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo posted a smiling selfie on social media with a message for Al Hilal to inform the Saudi side that he is available for transfer should Mbappe snub their lucrative offer.
This earned a round of crying-laughing emojis from Mbappe himself, who quote-replied the tweet in what constitutes his first public acknowledgment of the story.
Giannis has previous when it comes to Mbappe, having met him when he visited PSG with his brother Thanasis for a VIP tour of Parc des Prince ahead of the Bucks’ NBA Paris match against Charlotte Hornets back in early 2020.
Several other NBA players then followed suit by offering their reaction to the money reportedly on offer from Al Hilal including Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who couldn’t wrap his head around the size of the potential deal on the table.
Draymond Green openly enquired if Saudi Arabia has a basketball league that he could sign up for, despite only just signing a new four-year, $100m contract with Golden State Warriors last month.
Even L.A. Lakers megastar LeBron James weighed in, using a choice Forrest Gump GIF after hearing about the riches on offer for a one-year contract.
While the world waits to find out what will happen with Mbappe this summer, Al Hilal will be pleased to know they have a few other elite athletes they could approach if they wanted to take their team in a new cross-sport direction.
As for Mbappe, as a big NBA fan he will surely be getting a thrill out of seeing his basketball heroes’ reactions that money can’t buy — not even €700m.