PARIS • French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) clinched a sensational deal to prise wunderkind Kylian Mbappe away from French champions Monaco on Thursday in a move scheduled to become the second-most expensive football transfer in history.
Less than a month after the world-record €222 million (S$358 million) arrival of Brazilian icon Neymar in the French capital, and only hours before a record-breaking transfer window closed, 18-year-old Mbappe joined PSG on a season-long loan.
The France striker is expected to sign a permanent deal for €180 million next year in a move designed to prevent PSG falling foul of Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
"It is with great joy and pride that I join PSG," said Mbappe. "For any young person from the Paris region, it is often a dream to wear the jersey and experience the atmosphere of the Parc des Princes.
"I really wanted to be a part of the club's project, which is one of the most ambitious in Europe. Alongside my new team-mates, I intend to continue my progression while helping the team achieve the very big objectives it has set itself."
Mbappe burst onto the scene in the second half of last season and netted 26 times in 44 matches in all competitions. The starlet will be expected to form a scintillating PSG strike force with Neymar and Uruguay's Edinson Cavani.
Brought up in the northern suburbs of Paris, Mbappe was compared to a young Thierry Henry after he first broke into the Monaco side in December 2015.
Transfer fee Paris Saint Germain agreed to pay Monaco for Kylian Mbappe
He celebrated his PSG move by scoring his first goal for France in Thursday's 4-0 rout of the Netherlands in their 2018 World Cup Group A qualifier, after coming off the bench at the Stade de France.
"It was essential for French football that we keep and help develop such a great talent in our championship," said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. "Among players of his age, he is without doubt the most promising in the world."
Also targeted by Real Madrid this summer, Mbappe's move to PSG will leave many wondering how the Qatar-owned club can avoid sanctions from European football's governing body, considering the investment already made on Neymar.
FFP rules stipulate that clubs cannot post losses of more than €30 million over a three-year period to 2018, although PSG are hoping the initial loan move will help prevent them from falling foul of the regulations.
Among the sanctions risked by PSG if they are found to have broken those rules would be a ban from the Champions League.
PSG have already incurred sanctions for a previous violation and were slapped with a €60 million fine in 2014, and saw their squads for the Champions League cut from 25 to 21 players.
Last week, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin reiterated his determination to clamp down on clubs caught flouting the rules.
"No country can buy a player... It is of course the clubs who must buy them," Ceferin said. "I am not talking only about PSG."