Thierry Henry warned Paris Saint-Germain will struggle to keep Kylian Mbappe and urged the club to rethink their transfer strategy after another painful Champions League exit.
France great Henry believes PSG fans have found it difficult to embrace the global superstars who have arrived during the Qatar Sports Investments era, suggesting they are hankering after a side with more French representation.
Mbappe was the only Frenchman in coach Christophe Galtier’s starting XI against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, and Henry suspects the 2-0 defeat in Germany, sealing a 3-0 aggregate success for Bayern, could hasten the striker’s exit.
Despite finishing as the World Cup’s top scorer with France, since returning to PSG there has been little for Mbappe to smile about.
Results in Ligue 1 have been largely decent enough, with top spot locked down for now, but the Parisians were ousted from the Coupe de France by Marseille, and now they are out of Europe too.
Galtier will be under scrutiny, but if Mbappe begins to question his future that would be a devastating blow. He was persuaded to resist Real Madrid’s interest last May, but Henry fancies Mbappe may want to reconsider his commitment.
Speaking on CBS Sports Golazo, Henry said PSG should turn their focus to local talent, saying: “If that’s the project, maybe the fans can look at it, and it can look like something that’s very interesting. Maybe it can be a way – I don’t think it can be a way – to keep Kylian if he sees that they’re going that way. I think it’s going to be a tough one now to keep him.”
PSG have lost at the Champions League last-16 stage in five of the last seven seasons, landing some tough draws in that time, twice losing to Real Madrid while also going out to Barcelona, Manchester United and now Bayern.
Henry said there is “a fracture” between PSG and the club’s traditional fanbase.
With the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar having been brought to the Parc des Princes, Henry considers it a “crazy” situation to have supporters in revolt.
“Because if you told me 20 years ago Paris would have that team I would have said, ‘You’re joking, this is not happening’,” Henry said.
“Even their fans would have said, ‘Please give me the paper now, I’ll sign’.
“And now they have that, they’re not always happy about it because I don’t think they can relate to the team.
“So do you go back and get young French players from the area of Paris because they grew up idolising that club?”
The former Arsenal and Barcelona forward added: “Sometimes you have to grab the community, you have to grab the people that love the club.
“Is it Paris Saint-Germain, or what are you building? Are you going to get players for the sake of getting players, and then let’s play? For me, bring the best young French players back because a lot of them do support Paris Saint-Germain.
“They got Mbappe from Monaco. He was young, a lot of people wanted him. They got Neymar [when he was] young. It’s still an attractive club.”
Mbappe, who hit seven goals in the group stage, was questioned about his future in the moments after Wednesday’s defeat at the Allianz Arena, saying: “No, no, I’m calm, the only thing that matters to me this season is winning the championship and then we’ll see.”
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