PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi Talks Kylian Mbappe Transfer, Neymar and More

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2017

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 6: Kylian Mbappe is presented as new player of Paris Saint Germain by President of PSG Nasser Al Khelaifi at Parc des Princes on September 6, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has revealed there were other clubs across Europe willing to pay more than they did to land Kylian Mbappe from AS Monaco this summer. 

The young forward joined PSG on loan for the upcoming season and will eventually sign for the capital club for around £165 million at the end of the campaign.

In an interview with Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph, Al-Khelaifi said there were a clutch of other sides ready to gazump PSG in the race for the teenager:

"It was very competitive, trust me. Some other clubs offered him more than us. Every big club wanted him. But we explained to him our project and the ambition of the club and he's French, he's a Parisian and he had the club in his heart. He wanted to stay in France and defend the French colours in the Champions League. It's deep inside him."

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe takes part in a training session at the Camp des Loges in Saint-Germain en Laye on September 11, 2017 on the eve of their Champions League football match against Celtic FC. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON
CHRISTOPHE SIMON/Getty Images

As noted by Burt, Real Madrid were said to be PSG's biggest rivals in pursuit of the 18-year-old, while Arsenal and Chelsea were also keen.

Al-Khelaifi also detailed how the transfer was completed, with three meetings held between the club and the player's family in which they "didn't talk about money at all."

Mbappe made his first appearance for PSG on Friday, as they hammered Metz 5-1. Squawka Football broke down the numbers behind his exceptional debut for the club:

Of course, Mbappe's capture was one of two major deals for PSG during the summer window, with Neymar arriving from Barcelona for a world-record £200 million.

Al-Khelaifi discussed how the capture of the Brazilian has aided Les Parisiens in getting their brand recognised around the world, with 85 million people said to have watched Neymar's unveiling as a PSG player in his home country.

"Neymar is an international superstar," Al-Khelaifi said. "An international brand. Everybody is asking 'what's going on in France and in the French league? Neymar is playing for Paris Saint-Germain!' Even people who are not interested in football are saying that."

TOPSHOT - Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (R) poses with Paris Saint Germain's (PSG) Qatari president Nasser Al-Khelaifi (L) during his presentation to the fans at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on August 5, 2017.
Brazil superstar N
ALAIN JOCARD/Getty Images

Per ESPN FC, the former Barcelona man is also paying back his fee on the field, turning in a string of dazzling performances in Ligue 1:

The minimum requirement for PSG this season will be to take back the domestic title they lost to Monaco last term. But after bringing in Mbappe, Neymar and Dani Alves in the window, there will also be an expectation on them to shine in the UEFA Champions League.

It's a competition in which they have failed to fully hit top gear since being under Qatari ownership; and last term they were on the wrong end of one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of the game, as Barcelona overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit with a 6-1 second-leg win.

Ahead of their 2017-18 competition opener against Celtic on Tuesday, Al-Khelaifi suggested the team are in better shape to challenge for Europe's biggest prize.

"I think today we are stronger, but it's football," he said. "I am very optimistic and excited to play our first Champions League match at Celtic. I know they have amazing fans and stadium and the atmosphere will be incredible. It's the first match in the group so everything is very exciting."

Burt suggested the ambition to be the best is what has attracted the likes of Neymar to the club:

Winning the Champions League is far from straightforward, though. For PSG, there are no guarantees from a group containing Celtic, Anderlecht and Bayern Munich, either.

All eyes will be on Les Parisiens as they get their campaign under way. After such a lavish summer spree, anything other than European glory would leave plenty deeming 2017-18 a failure of a season.