Paris St Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Kylian Mbappe. Source: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Paris St Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Kylian Mbappe. Source: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A billion reasons to move to Saudi Arabia

Football OlyBet 30.07.2023

Apart from one year of Kylian Mbappe playing football, what can you realistically get for one billion euros? The world has really gone mad.

Just to be clear: whether Mbappe moves to Saudi Arabia will not make a difference in football, at least now. The astronomical sum the Saudis are ready to pay will not change the transfer market valuations of top players. The absurd 700-million-a-year contract will not make Barcelona, Chelsea, or Bayern Munich quadruple their wage roll.

After a year, Mbappe would likely be unveiled as a Real Madrid player, moving to the Spanish capital on a free transfer. Normal service would be resumed then. Indeed, it would rob Mbappe of a year at the top of the game and possibly create a tsunami in the transfer market, because PSG would suddenly have heaps to spend, but they would have to overpay massively.

But all that is just a theory at this point. For now, the deal seems to have stalled, as Mbappe reportedly refused to meet the Al Hilal representatives while they were in Paris. Just imagine that: someone wants to get you out of a complicated situation by paying you an extravagant amount of money, and you do your best to avoid them!?

The main things on the line are Mbappe’s legacy and integrity, but in this world, could anyone fault him for taking the deal? The working relationship at Paris Saint-Germain seems to be deteriorating rapidly, so a way out – any way out – might eventually be appetizing to Mbappe as well. Even if he does not think so now.

Why it makes sense

For Mbappe, continuing to play hardball with PSG may result in a year on the sidelines. At 24 years of age, such an arrangement would be unheard of, while his chances of going to EURO 2024 or the Summer Olympics in Paris would be greatly diminished. Playing – even if in the Saudi league – will pretty much guarantee him a spot on whichever roster he wants. And the 700 million reasons would not hurt either, plus he would be available for Madrid.

For PSG, if they have given up on Mbappe’s extension – which seems to be the case – just freezing him out for the next 12 months would be a bold but ineffective power move. He would still leave for free, and it would disrupt team harmony for the whole season. After all, we are talking about one of the best players in the world and a team fixated on winning everything. Waving goodbye for 300 million would be reasonable business.

For Al Hilal, money matters little. The league has already lured a plethora of stars ranging from old all-time great Cristiano Ronaldo to prime good-but-not-god Ruben Neves, but Mbappe is in a class of his own; signing one of the world’s best at his peak would elevate the Saudi league to new heights of prestige. It would be a statement signing with stupid money and an expiration date, but it would still be fabulous in both senses of the word.

And then there are others. For Real Madrid, the path to signing Mbappe would become a little clearer and there would be no need to haggle with PSG. For France, they are simply stronger with than without Mbappe, and him playing football is better than him not playing football. For us, the viewers, we would be witnesses to history.

A billion reasons

How much is the 700 million offered to Mbappe anyway? The deal would amount to 58 million per month or 1.9 million per day or 79 900 euros an hour or 1332 euros a minute or 22 euros per second. Again: 22 euros per second. With the time you have spent reading this paragraph, Mbappe would have made somewhere between 500 and 1000 euros.

For our purposes, let us add the transfer fee too for the total cost. What could you get for one billion? Well, you could just spend it … but by spending 1000 euros every day, it would take 2740 years. So we need to spend more. Like Manchester City then? Even their squad, maybe the best and/or deepest of all time, is not worth a billion in total.

Sure, sheikhs and entrepreneurs have paid loads of money before, but those numbers are still rather meagre when compared. PSG did spend 222 million on Neymar, but that was a similar one-off and did not even amount to 500 million. And how did that go, by the way?

The 300-million price tag would land Mbappe at No. 8 in a list of the most expensive clubs (!) ever while such history knows just two deals worth more than one billion – AC Milan changing hands in 2022 for 1.25 billion euros, and the forced sale of Chelsea for an astronomical amount of 4.96 billion euros. Forget football, Mbappe needs to be compared to other fields.

What else can you get?

Maybe a car to get around, say a Tesla Model Y? It would get you 23 326 of those. The most expensive car ever, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe sold in 2022? You can get seven and still have spare change.

A plane or a boat might make more sense then. Roman Abramovich, the man who sold Chelsea owns a superyacht called Eclipse worth 1.5 billion euros, but every other yacht ever should be affordable while planes are relatively cheap … Air Force One would cost just around 600 million.

Maybe a house to live in? Buckingham Palace – the 775-room mansion owned by the British Royal Family – may be out of our price range, evaluated at 4.5 billion euros. The White House is more affordable however, you could actually get two of those. And while decorating, how about the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci?

And of course, you could just make it grow even by gambling on something really likely to happen. At the time of writing, the odds of F1 king Max Verstappen winning ten or more races this season (for those not following, he has won nine out of eleven and the last seven in a row; there are eleven races to go) are 1.001; by betting a thousand euros, you would win one euro. By betting a billion, you would win another million.

Why would one need more? While one billion is indeed quite a lot of money, it would only be enough to share position No. 2540 in the Forbes 2023 Richest List. Elon Musk, ranked number two, is valued at 164 billion euros, while there are five members to the 100 billion club. Truly stupid, stupid money …


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