Now that 2022 is finally here, we're in the year when the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga will come to an end, one way or another. Mbappe is now legally allowed to both negotiate with and sign a pre-contract agreement with Real Madrid, or indeed any other club.
Paris Saint-Germain continue to hope that the prodigious forward talent won't leave the club, but the sands in the hourglass representing PSG's control of the situation have now run out.
Leonardo, Mauricio Pochettino and Nasser Al-Khelaifi are even more limited as they try to stop the Mbappe train plotting Madrid as its next destination at this juncture.
A signing five years in the works
Mbappe has played the perfect game, as he has taken control of his own destiny and is now able to choose exactly where he wants to play.
Mbappe's only route out of Paris was via the Bosman door and Real Madrid have been duly holding it open for months.
They were interested in him five years ago, with Mbappe featuring on MARCA's front page on March 22, 2017, when he was emerging at Monaco.
He has admitted that this wasn't the right moment to make the move to Real Madrid, but that time has now come.
Real Madrid are back
Mbappe has always dreamed of pulling on the famous white shirt of Real Madrid and now he is willing to shun the further riches of staying in Paris to do just that. There is pessimism at PSG with regards to somehow getting him to stay.
In securing Mbappe's signature, provided it happens, Los Blancos will have brought in the biggest star in world football at the moment, and the most marketable one for the next decade. He is the biggest Galactico of the current generation.
Mbappe signing for Real Madrid puts the club right back at the epicentre of world football, and Champions League expectations won't be too far behind.
The deal can't be announced quickly
Within the Valdebebas offices, there is a level of confidence that Mbappe will be a Real Madrid player in 2022, however there is no chance of it being announced soon.
Even looking beyond the fact that the two teams are due to meet in the first knockout round of the Champions League, it suits nobody for Mbappe's future to be announced early.
The relationship between the two clubs has already been broken over Los Merengues' pursuit of Mbappe during the summer transfer window and this is in sharp contrast to how the Spanish side looked to stay friendly with PSG with their constant denial of Neymar speculation in previous years.
The leaders of both clubs are now due to meet as a result of the aforementioned Champions League tie, but it's difficult to imagine the atmosphere being anything other than frosty.
Perez's position in the European Super League project has also furthered the divide between the league leaders in both Spain and France.
Such has been the rivalry developed between the two clubs of late, the phrase 'not one euro to PSG' has been reportedly heard within the corridors of Valdebebas in recent weeks.
This shouldn't be a problem with a Bosman deal, although Real Madrid would still be expected to put together a significant fiscal package for the player in terms of a signing-on bonus.
Carlo Ancelotti will then need to work out how Mbappe fits into his line-up, but that is certainly a good problem to have.
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