AS Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim has suggested the club may struggle to keep hold of Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe, who has reportedly told the Ligue 1 champions he'll remain on two conditions. Elsewhere, Pepe's proposed move to Besiktas has hit an obstacle.
Speaking to French radio station RMC (h/t FourFourTwo), Jardim said "maybe it's not possible" to keep the best players at the Stade Louis II while reiterating his desire to see Mbappe remain at Monaco for the foreseeable future:
"I hope to keep the right players. It is not [just] me, all the coaches of the world [would] like to keep the best [players]. But with the Monaco project, maybe it's not possible to always keep the best. We're going to look at what's going to happen.
"The important thing now is to have 100 per cent focus at [our] work, develop this young talent and afterwards we will look at which players have stayed."
On one hand, Jardim's honesty is admirable and something fans will surely appreciate, but Mbappe's suitors will also seize upon such concessions in their efforts to sign football's most coveted asset this summer.
At the very least, Monaco's merchandising team appears to believe the 18-year-old sensation will be around in 2017-18:
B/R Football @brfootball
Going nowhere? Kylian Mbappe is the leading man of Monaco's 2017/18 kit launch (IG: k.mbappe29) https://t.co/fzaaEPfdZj2017-6-30 12:23:18
L'Equipe (h/t Spanish daily Marca) recently reported Mbappe will only stay at Monaco if the club stops selling its best players and increases his annual salary from €1.2 million (£1 million) to €8.5 million (£7.4 million).
The French Riviera outfit may be willing to meet that criteria, with Bernardo Silva's move to Manchester City the only example of a major-profile star leaving the club this summer.
Mbappe's social media activity recently sent some fans into a flurry, per Spanish newspaper AS via Twitter:
AS English @English_AS
Mbappé scrubs Monaco from his Twitter bio https://t.co/4B3x2GdqFD https://t.co/ScQuD4WXlJ2017-7-1 16:35:55
Real may feel they have a great chance to complete a move for the striker following Jardim's nervy take on the matter.
Meanwhile, Goal's Loic Tanzi reported former Real man Pepe's move to Super Lig champions Besiktas isn't complete, with the club's director of football operations, Ali Naibi, quoted as saying: "We are in the market to sign a world-class centre back, and Pepe is one of the players any club would welcome with pleasure. But we are not in final stage for this transfer."
That opens up the door for Paris Saint-Germain to steal in and make their move for the free agent. According to Tanzi, the Ligue 1 giants have already offered the Portugal international a one-year deal with the option of extending for a season.
Both clubs could count themselves lucky to recruit such an experienced figure, even at the age of 34, as Pepe looks set to continue his career abroad following a 10-year spell at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.