Monaco have slapped a huge £130m price tag on Man United target Kylian Mbappe
Manchester United are leading the chase for the prolific France teenager, who has rattled 19 goals in 32 games this season, but face fierce competition from a host of rivals – at home and abroad.
Chelsea and Arsenal have made their interest in Mbappe, just 18, well known during the past six months, while Spanish giants Real Madrid and French counterparts Paris St Germain recently added their names to the list of suitors.
However, unless one of them is prepared to smash the current world transfer record of £89.3m – by some £40m – Mbappe will be going nowhere any time soon.
United had hoped to steal a decisive edge in the race by weighing in with an early, substantial offer.
Jose Mourinho's Man United have already had an £80m offer rejected by Monaco
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Yet their reported £80m inquiry has barely even registered with Ligue 1 leaders Monaco, who are also through to the Champions League quarter-finals after dumping Manchester City in Round 16.
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Although the Gallic outfit plan to sell several of their sought-after stars this summer, Mbappe is not among those being made available.
And for now Monaco are in a strong position – with the talented forward having penned a new deal only last year, which ties him down until June 2019.
Their other significant advantage in the fight to keep Mbappa, whose father doubles up as his agent, is that he in no rush to leave.
Chelsea are favourites to complete a £40m deal for Monaco powerhouse Tiemoue Bakayoko
After receiving his first call-up to the French senior squad this month, his aim now is to nail a permanent spot in Didier Deschamp's side before the 2018 Wold Cup finals in Russia.
Both Mbappe and his dad believe the best chance of doing that is to remain at Monaco next season.
If that is a big blow to the immediate transfer plans of United and Co, there are plenty of other Monaco aces very much on the radar of the English elite.
Premier League leaders Chelsea are favourites to complete a £40m close-season deal for French powerhouse midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 22.
Both United and Tottenham have been heavily linked with a £35m swoop for Gallic playmaker Bernardo Silva, also 22, while Arsenal and Man City are targeting £25m-rated Brazil midfielder Fabinho, 23, who can play at the back too.