Real Madrid have reportedly held talks with AS Monaco regarding a potential deal for teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, but the Ligue 1 side do not want to part with him.
According to Goal's Alberto Pinero and Julien Quelen, the clubs "met at the end of last week" to discuss a move, but such is Monaco's reluctance to sell him, reports in France have indicated they may want as much as €135 million (£118 million) before letting him go.
It is said Los Blancos have the option of financing such a deal by selling Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez, which could earn them almost €150 million, but that option isn't likely to appeal to them.
The Spanish giants, who have identified Mbappe as a top long-term replacement for Morata and Karim Benzema in their attacking lineup, are "attempting to work out a resolution" with Monaco.
The striker is now on holiday and considering his options having met with the higher-ups at Monaco on Thursday morning.
He is left with something of a dilemma, though—he has the opportunity to continue his development in the Principality, earning regular game time in an exciting project and the chance to defend the Ligue 1 title he helped win.
Football writer Andrew Gibney believes manager Leonardo Jardim's new deal at the club will help them keep hold of the 18-year-old:
Andrew Gibney @Gibney_A
This will be a key factor in Mbappé staying at Monaco this summer. Learning from Jardim and Falcao. https://t.co/uMZPExbuSw2017-6-8 08:59:12
Leaving for Real for an enormous fee could hinder his development because of the pressure involved and with minutes on the pitch less guaranteed at the Santiago Bernabeu.
On the other hand, Mbappe would have the chance to move to his dream club and link up with "idols" Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Further, Monaco face a significant challenge this summer brought on by their outstanding campaign last year.
The club are a victim of their own success, as Europe's elite are now circling their exceptional young side and a number of key players look set to follow Bernardo Silva—who has already joined Manchester City—out of the exit door.
As such, the club could struggle to reach the same level next year, which might not appeal to Mbappe compared with joining La Liga and UEFA Champions League winners Real.
Rio Ferdinand @rioferdy5
Mbappe is 18 😂😂😂😂😂2017-6-13 20:48:20
Yannick Bolasie @YannickBolasie
When you see players expressing there self like it's too refreshing mbappe 🙏🏾2017-6-13 20:46:48
Real aren't in desperate need for more firepower as Morata has already proved himself to be an excellent candidate to replace Benzema, but Mbappe could be a once-in-a-generation talent.
Monaco's desire to keep him is to be expected, and they can offer plenty of incentive to stay, but there's a long way yet to go this summer—the transfer window hasn't even opened officially yet, after all.
Madrid have shown their intent by opening talks early, and they may be able to negotiate a deal, but it will be a costly one to pull off.