Kylian Mbappe’s time at Paris Saint-Germain is approaching its conclusion, with confirmation that the French forward will leave when his contract expires in the summer.
Mbappe’s exit leaves PSG with an almost impossible task, as the Ligue 1 side looks to replace the irreplaceable. The 25-year-old has scored a club record 243 goals in 290 games, the sort of return not easily replaced. It’s even harder without receiving a transfer fee for a player of such standing.
Ahead of what is a pivotal transfer window in the Paris Saint-Germain project, we look at five of the best options to replace Kylian Mbappe at the Parc des Princes.
Five forwards who could replace Kylian Mbappe at PSG:
Jonathan David (Lille)
Jonathan David could be an option for Paris Saint-German, should the French champions look close to home for a replacement. The Canadian has impressed across three-and-a-half seasons at Lille, for whom he has scored 60 goals in 132 league games.
David’s return has seen him eclipse Eden Hazard as the club’s record scorer in the 21st century and several top clubs have checked in on the progress of the 24-year-old. The forward, who has a rumoured release clause of €52m (£44.4m) in his contract at Lille, ranks fourth in Ligue 1 this season for non-penalty goals, non-penalty xG and shots on target per 90 minutes.
Willing to drop deep as a second striker to knit attacks, he ranks in the highest 13% of forwards in Europe’s top leagues for progressive passes and pass completion across the last 12 months.
Lois Openda (RB Leipzig)
Another forward with experience of the division, Lois Openda’s climb towards the elite has continued at RB Leipzig this season. Openda’s goal return has led to moves from Vitesse (loan), to Lens and Leipzig in successive seasons, scoring prolifically in the Netherlands, France and Germany.
The Belgian scored 21 goals in Ligue 1 last season as Lens secured Champions League qualification and has hit the ground running in Leipzig after being signed as a replacement for the Chelsea-bound Christopher Nkunku.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 2, 2023
Openda has scored 19 times in 30 games in all competitions, including four goals in the Champions League’s group stage as Leipzig qualified for the last 16. Boasting lightning pace and cool inside the box, he has attributes that make him appear a stylistic fit to replace Mbappe in Paris.
The 23-year-old has a release clause of around €80m (£68.4m) in his contract at the Red Bull Arena, though it can only be activated in 2025.
Alexander Isak (Newcastle)
Newcastle’s need to be compliant with the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules means a big-name sale could materialise in the summer, with Paris Saint-Germain having been linked with Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes.
Could Alexander Isak also become of interest to the Parisians, should Mbappe head to Madrid?
The Swedish striker has been a superb signing since arriving on Tyneside from Real Sociedad in a £63m deal in 2022. Isak has scored 20 goals in just 27 league starts for Newcastle, averaging a Premier League goal every 135 minutes for the club.
One of the best moves we’ve seen in the Premier League 🤩
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) December 29, 2023
Fitness issues have prevented those numbers from swelling further and will be a concern for would-be suitors, but there are few forwards anywhere in Europe with Isak’s unique profile of presence, speed and sharpness in tight areas.
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Paris Saint-Germain have made no secret of their admiration for Marcus Rashford with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi having been vocal in his interest in signing the Manchester United forward last season.
“He’s another player that is really amazing,” Al-Khelaifi said in September 2022.
“And for free? To have Rashford for free, every club would run after him, definitely.
”We’re not hiding it, we spoke before and [there was] interest, but the moment was not a good moment for both sides. Maybe, summer, why not?”
Rashford’s contract situation saw PSG plot a potential move for the England international, though the 26-year-old turned down an exit in favour of signing a long-term deal at Old Trafford. That contract came as a result of a career-best campaign that saw Rashford score 30 goals in all competitions to win Manchester United’s Player of the Season award.
He’s struggled to reproduce that form this season, however, and Rashford was dropped from the squad to face Newport County in the FA Cup last month after a disciplinary issue. He has since returned to the side, but PSG could make an offer to entice the forward to France in the summer.
Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
Elite goalscorers are a rare find, but Lautaro Martinez fits that bill perfectly.
The Argentine is the top scorer in Serie A this season with 19 goals in 20 appearances, as he targets the Capocannoniere award as the division’s leading scorer and title success with Inter.
The 26-year-old has scored 124 goals in 267 appearances since joining Inter from Racing Club and recently passed Christian Vieri in the club’s all-time leading scorers list.
19 goals on the season and now Inter’s 9th highest goalscorer in HISTORY with 124 (tied with Icardi) ⚫️🔵
The world needs to start to recognize this man and give him his respect.
Lautaro Martinez is UNSTOPPABLE. pic.twitter.com/8cKk8JriTW
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) January 28, 2024
Martinez has been in negotiations with Inter over a new contract, though changes in Italy’s tax laws could see the Nerazzurri struggle to match proposals on the continent. PSG appears an obvious potential destination for the World Cup winner, should he leave the San Siro in search of a new challenge.