The tug of war for Kylian Mbappe has intensified with Manchester City looking to hijack the Monaco star’s world record move to Real Madrid.
City have opened talks with the 18-year-old French sensation and are pursuing a deal that would shatter the £89million deal that brought Paul Pogba to Manchester United last year.
Real have agreed a £160m six-year deal but City are refusing to give up the chase.
And speaking ahead of City’s pre-season game against Madrid in Los Angeles in the early hours of Thursday, Pep Guardiola refused to rule out a move for Mbappe.
‘The player is still at Monaco, still on that team,’ the City manager said. ‘Anything can happen. We are still looking at other players in the market. There are a lot of other players, but he is still on that team.
‘Madrid doesn’t have more than Manchester City have. Players are very important and we always try to get the best players possible.
‘Abu Dhabi came in and invested in the team. Over the past five or six years we climbed to the top and we’re now in the top three or four. In order to get to the level of Madrid or Barcelona we just need time.’
If they succeed, it would take City’s transfer window spend past the £350m mark.
City have already done £95m worth of business with Monaco this summer for Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva. They have now contacted the French club’s president Vadim Vasilyev to begin negotiations over 18-year-old Mbappe, who is rated as one of the hottest prospects in world football.
Madrid will put up fierce competition for their No 1 transfer target and have already raised £100m towards signing Mbappe by selling Alvaro Morata to Chelsea and Danilo to City.
They have also sent James Rodriguez on loan to Bayern Munich and it’s understood that another option under consideration is allowing Gareth Bale to join United.
If Real are successful, they will smash the world transfer record for a sixth time.
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