Barcelona have reportedly entered the race to sign Kylian Mbappe on a free transfer from PSG.
Mbappe, one of the best forwards in the world, is out of contract at the end of the season and has been free to talk to teams about a free transfer since January.
It has been widely expected that he will make the move to Real Madrid, fulfilling what he has repeatedly called a childhood dream.
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However French outlet L’Equipe report that Real’s arch-rivals Barcelona have joined the race.
The report says that Barca have long-standing interest in Mbappe. They tried to sign him in the summer of 2017 before he went to PSG, and they’re keen for the player to meet manager Xavi Hernandez to try and change his mind.
One other potential deal-swinger is Mbappe’s close friendship with Barca winger Ousmane Dembele, although Dembele is out of contract himself.
“We’re seriously doubting this story,” said Louis Gilles of Eurosport France. “It seems preposterous that Barca have the slightest chance to sign Mbappe.
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“They couldn’t keep Lionel Messi because of his salary then have signed Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, Dani Alves and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang since then. Plus they are trying to sign Franck Kessie, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen in the summer.
“Plus Mbappe has never spoken about the idea of playing for Barcelona, so it would be a big surprise to see the World Cup winner pick the Catalans.”
Gilles added that “in our opinion in France we believe there isn’t much in this and it is either designed to drive up the price of Mbappe in terms of wages a bit or drive up L’Equipe’s traffic.
“It’s possible that he will listen to Barcelona’s proposal but there’s no indication it will go any further.”
In response to the report from L'Equipe, various Catalan media outlets reported that Barcelona are in fact not sconsidering Mbappe. Mundo Deportivo specifically added that Barcelona believe their name is being used to raise the price.
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