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Timeline of Liverpool’s links with Kylian Mbappe

There are no guarantees in the world of football but Kylian Mbappe’s rise to stardom was hardly a surprise to those that got a first-hand glimpse of his youthful talent.

Jurgen Klopp was in the queue of admirers that were wowed by the teenager before he made his senior debut for Monaco in late 2015.

“I saw Kylian Mbappe when he was 16,” the Liverpool manager remembered. “Everybody knew: ‘Yeah, wow, that will be absolutely amazing’.”

In the subsequent years, Klopp’s Liverpool have been incessantly linked with the French starlet. Here’s a sequential look at the speculation which has dramatically varied between fanciful and factual.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe made his debut for Monaco three weeks before turning 17 / Xavier Laine/GettyImages

In January 2016, 17-year-old Mbappe had entered into the final six months of his deal at Monaco and was therefore allowed to sign a pre-contract agreement with another suitor before a free transfer that summer.

Liverpool were supposedly alerted to Mbappe’s availability, although Arsenal – still under the management of former Monaco boss Arsene Wenger – were deemed to be the front runners.

Intriguingly, Mbappe was dubbed ‘the new Anthony Martial’. While that may be an insult in 2023, when The Metro ran with the line in 2016, it was meant as a compliment.

In March of that year, Mbappe briefly quelled the speculation by penning a deal with Monaco until 2019.

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Kylian Mbappe initially joined PSG on loan before becoming the second-most expensive player of all time in 2018 / AFP Contributor/GettyImages

The summer of 2017 was the closest Liverpool have come to actually securing Mbappe’s signature. Fresh from a devastating season at the tip of a Monaco attack which reached the Champions League semi-finals and won Ligue 1, Liverpool were a main player in the bidding war for Mbappe – as confirmed by the Frenchman years later.

After an initial offer of €75m was rebuffed, Liverpool reportedly slapped €100m on the table. However, PSG blew all other offers out of the water with a staggering fee of €180m to be paid after a season-long loan. Liverpool ended up signing Mohamed Salah, the club’s top scorer in every season since, for a third of that sum.

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Fabinho (left) played 54 games alongside Mbappe for Monaco / VALERY HACHE/GettyImages

A year after their failed pursuit of Mbappe, Liverpool were able to prize a gem away from Monaco. Fabinho arrived at Anfield after the 2018 World Cup with a message of congratulations from his former teammate at the principality.

As well as giving Mbappe some kudos for winning the summer tournament, Fabinho planned to begin a charm offensive.

“Kylian has already said he will remain at PSG for the next season but I will try slowly to convince him to come to Liverpool,” Fabinho said, sending the merry-go-round of rumours spinning once again.

Mbappe has not hidden the fact that he considers basketball icon LeBron James to be a role model and sounding board for business interests off the pitch. The pair linked up via their shared Nike sponsorship in 2019, causing a squall of optimistic whispers from Liverpool’s more creative conspiracy theorists.

James has been a minority shareholder in Liverpool since 2011 and increased his public interest in the club as they blossomed under Klopp. Some Reds speculated that James could convince Mbappe to join his favourite team.

Liverpool had been sued by US sportswear company New Balance for not honouring a loyalty clause in their contract but Mr Justice Teare ruled in Liverpool’s favour in October 2019, finding that the offer from Nike was far superior.

This decision ensured that the famous swoosh would be stitched onto Liverpool shirts for the 2020/21 campaign, sparking a tidal wave of speculation that Mbappe – an athlete with a ten-year contract at Nike – would be wearing a red tick in the summer of 2020. The hashtag ‘Mbappe2020’ caught fire.

Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp has little time for transfer speculation / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Klopp quickly poured cold water on the hype. The German coach insisted that not only Liverpool but every other team on the planet had no chance of buying Mbappe.

“I don’t see any club, that is how it is,” Klopp shrugged. “And we are involved in the clubs that cannot do it. It is as easy as that. Okay, from a sporting point of view, there are not a lot of reasons to not sign him. What a player he is.

“But it is about the money, of course. No chance. Absolutely no chance. Sorry for killing that story.”

Unfortunately for Klopp, the links wouldn’t die quite so easily.

Kylian Mbappe

Neither Liverpool’s defenders nor their transfer committee have been able to catch Kylian Mbappe / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

It didn’t matter that Mbappe claimed to be ‘100%’ happy in Paris, the transfer rumour mill latched onto his gushing praise for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

“What Liverpool do in this moment is amazing,” Mbappe said midway through the 2019/20 campaign. “They’re like a machine, they’ve found a rhythm and are like ‘we play again, we play again’.”

Speaking in perfect English to the BBC, Mbappe also took time to praise the club’s ‘very good manager’.

John W. Henry

Liverpool owner John W. Henry has seen his club repeatedly linked with Kylian Mbappe / Michael Regan/GettyImages

With just 12 months left on his much-scrutinised first contract at PSG, Liverpool supposedly ‘enquired’ about Mbappe’s availability in the summer of 2021.

Klopp did his best to distance Liverpool from a move for Mbappe that same off-season, citing the economic slump which the world of football had slipped into following the coronavirus pandemic. But he wasn’t anywhere near as emphatic as he had been 18 months earlier.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe announced a contract extension until 2025 in 2022 / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

It may have appeared to be a straight race between Real Madrid and PSG as Mbappe’s future wobbled in the balance during the tumultuous summer of 2022 but Liverpool (briefly) also had a seat at the negotiation table.

“We talked a little bit, but not too much,” Mbappe revealed that May. “I talked to Liverpool because it’s the favourite club of my mum, my mum loves Liverpool. I don’t know why, you will have to ask her!”

Ultimately, Mbappe agreed to a contract extension with PSG which earned him a gargantuan signing-on bonus in the region of €100m.

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Rumours of Kylian Mbappe’s move to Liverpool reemerged during the 2022 World Cup / Zhizhao Wu/GettyImages

Barely two months into the first season of his new three-year deal, Mbappe let it be known that he was unhappy at PSG. Liverpool were one of several clubs that had their ear pricked by this news.

During the 2022 World Cup, while Mbappe rifled in eight goals to finish as the tournament’s top scorer, rumours emerged that Klopp’s side were supposedly ‘back in the running’, chiefly competing with Real Madrid.

When Mbappe penned an extension in the summer of 2022, he held up a shirt with 2025 on the back. However, the deal had always been for two extra years with another as an option that could only be triggered by the player.

In a statement move, Mbappe wrote PSG an entirely unnecessary letter informing the club that he would not be fulfilling the final year. Suddenly it was crystal clear, if PSG didn’t sell Mbappe in 2023, they would lose him for nothing next summer.

Once this became clear, whispers emerged that Liverpool were supposedly willing to commit €300m to sign Mbappe. Where this money would come from is entirely unclear. Yet, a distinct lack of logic has never hampered any Mbappe to Liverpool links in the past.

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