On the final day of the transfer window, big-spending Paris Saint-Germain pulled off another staggering transfer. This time they poached the 18-year-old sensation from Monaco in a deal worth as much as 180 million euros.
Kylian Mbappe is the precocious young talent who made his name last season in Monaco’s title-winning team.
With searing pace and a sharp eye for goal, he has become Europe's most sought-after player. Real Madrid had looked favorites to sign him earlier in the summer, but it's big-spending Paris Saint-Germain who have sealed another head-turning transfer.
The deal had been on the cards for a some time and was all but finalized last week, but an official announcement was held up while the Paris club worked to find way around UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, which are meant to prevent clubs from spending much more than they earn in a single season.
Like many other clubs in this crazy transfer window, PSG have circumvented the rules by securing Mbappe on a season-long loan, and are to make the deal permanent next summer for a whopping 180 million euros ($214 million). The transfer has delighted PSG fans as the club continues to assemble one of the most feared lineups in the world. But not everyone is happy.
The president of Spain's La Liga, Javier Tebas, believes PSG cannot possibly comply with FFP without using inflated sponsorship deals from Qatari companies way above market value and has labelled the system "financial doping".
Brendan Rodgers, who manages Celtic - drawn in the same group as PSG in the Champions League, was more emphatic.
"If PSG sign Mbappe, you could rip up Financial Fair Play," he said. "Since it was brought in you could argue it's gone the other way. It's obscene now."
Rodgers has a point. The transfers of Neymar - for a world record 222 million euros - and Mbappe will appear on PSG's financial statements for the 2017-18 tax year, with UEFA's assessment of FFP compliance coming a year after that. However, the double signings mean PSG will need to generate an estimated 125 million euros annually to match its 2015-16 financial statement, although that blow has been softened as Mbappe was taken on a loan deal meaning his transfer will be settled in the next financial year.
Mbappe's signing hours before the transfer deadline closed came shortly after PSG sold Serge Aurier to Tottenham to help cater for Neymar and Mbappe.
For the player himself, the transfer allows Mbappe to return to the city of his birth and form a potentially lethal attacking combination with Edinson Cavani and Neymar, and prove that his transfer justifies the hype and the potentially huge fee. Although Mbappe himself had always dreamed of playing not for PSG, but Real Madrid.
"It is better to target the moon. That way, if you fail, you get to the clouds," Mbappe said in an early interview when asked about the prospect of one day playing at the Bernabeu.
Mbappe may not have accomplished his goal of playing for Real Madrid yet, but by joining PSG in the most lucrative deal ever for a teenager (when it goes through), the teenage sensation’s stock continues to rise.