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How Real Madrid will line up with Kylian Mbappe

Stuart Telford
Kylian Mbappe, Real Madrid, 2023-24
© IMAGO

Real Madrid are closing on the signing of Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain. How would the record European champions line up with the French superstar in their ranks?

Mbappe is out of contract with PSG at the end of the season, making him about the most desirable free agent in world football, and Real are at the front of the queue to sign him.

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The 14-time European champions thought they had signed the French World Cup-winner in 2022 before he U-turned to sign a record-breaking new deal at PSG, but this time could be different…

“Could it happen soon? Yes, the feeling of all parties involved in the Mbappe story is that Kylian will communicate [his final decision] soon,” transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano told his YouTube channel.

“We still don’t know the day and the date, but we feel… that a decision will come soon, so not in June, not in July,” – the inference that it will be sooner.

Real Madrid with Mbappe next season?

Madrid + Mbappe looks mouth-watering.
© Especial – Madrid + Mbappe looks mouth-watering.

What will that mean for Madrid? Carlo Ancelotti has extended his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, quelling speculation that he was set to become the next Brazil manager, so there should be some consistency in Real’s play.

Although he won the La Liga and Champions League double with a 4-3-3 in 2022, Karim Benzema‘s departure to Saudi Arabia left a gap in attack that the Italian filled in a novel way: he tweaked his system to a 4-3-1-2 and gave Jude Bellingham – a €103 million summer arrival from Borussia Dortmund – pride of place.

The results have been incredible, with the young Englishman contributing 18 goals and eight assists from his 28 games. It could be a case of not fixing something that isn’t broken, and with Mbappe, they wouldn’t need to.

Up ahead of Bellingham this season have been Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo – both wingers by trade – and the latter in particular has complained about being played more centrally in a front two.

That clearly wouldn’t be a problem for Mbappe, who complained about being the main target man at PSG last season, taking to Instagram using the ironic hashtag #pivotcrew.

Of course, Ancelotti could revert to a 4-3-3, with Mbappe flanked by Vinicius on the left and on of Rodrygo and Federico Valverde on the right. With the versatile Valverde on the field, he could even flit between the two formations on the fly.

Elsewhere, Thibault Courtois will have returned from torn cruciate ligament in time to reclaim his No.1 spot from the Chelsea-owned Kepa Arrizabalaga, while Toni Kroos‘ expiring contract means Eduardo Camavinga could replace him in midfield full-time.

Ferland Mendy will be concerned about Real’s reported interest in Alphonso Davies, but for now a move for the Bayern Munich left-back doesn’t appear to be as close as the one for Mbappe.

And the Mbappe signing gives Madrid a formidable look, regardless of formation.

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