Real Madrid Transfers: How is target Kylian Mbappe performing thus far?

PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)
PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid probably won’t be able to purchase Kylian Mbappe in the 2021 summer transfer window, but judging by the team’s recent struggles offensively, you had better believe Florentino Perez will continue to save every cent possible in order to make a legitimate push to sign the French star. He may fall short in his pursuit, but Mbappe is very much still the No. 1 transfer target in Madrid.

That said, Mbappe hasn’t been playing at his best for PSG lately. Even though he is still the world’s best young player, the 22-year-old has slipped in the past couple of months since a hot start to the season. Mbappe has looked less adept at getting past defenders and genuinely seems on the fringes of some matches. Part of this is a necessary adjustment period with new manager Mauricio Pochettino, but his numbers weren’t quite as excellent even before the switch.

Looking at Ligue 1 contests, via, Mbappe has scored just three goals in his last eight appearances since the start of December. In that time span, Mbappe has only one assist and one match with two key passes, with both occurrences taking place in a 3-0 win over Brest this January. Mbappe had seven dribbles completed in that game, which was his highest mark since the start of November.

Real Madrid fans are wondering if Mbappe’s slump is the result of the player not being as motivated in Paris. It’s hard to make any real extrapolations, especially when we are guessing what a player is feeling. We just can’t know. But a lot of times, you can’t underestimate the seeming randomness of slumps.

Real Madrid fans need to remember to be realistic with Kylian Mbappe

Recall that Mabppe had 10 goals and four assists in his first seven appearances of the 2020-2021 Ligue 1 campaign. That’s an average of two goal contributions per match, which is absolutely ridiculous. If we combine these seven appearances with the eight games in his recent slump, then he has 18 goal contributions in 15 matches, which is still more than one per game.

If we look at Mbappe’s recent performances, he is playing below the standard he set. But if we look at the overall numbers in 2020-2021, Mbappe is scoring and assisting at a higher rate than in the 2019-2020 season. He’s already matched his assist total from the previous campaign and should shatter his career-high for assists (eight).

But on the subject of assists, it’s worth noting that Mbappe’s average of key passes has plummeted from 2.0 to 1.1 this season, and he’s never averaged fewer than 1.5 key passes per game in Ligue 1 since joining PSG. Mbappe is also averaging a shot per game less than he was in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons. He scored 33 goals in 2017-2018 and 18 in 2019-2020.

All of this tells us that we have to be realistic when it comes to our expectations for Mbappe, if he were to join Real Madrid in 2021 or 2022. He is a world-class player, but he is still developing and a bit streaky in front of goal. Mbappe is very much a work-in-progress when it comes to his chance-creation, and it’s fair to wonder if he needs to head to a new league and needs a change of scenery to find another gear.

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That’s something Real Madrid fans will harp on in the coming weeks, but we’ll have to see how Mbappe does under Pochettino and how he plays out of this small dip in form. These dips happen, of course, we can’t expect a U23 forward to average two goal contributions per match indefinitely. But that snapshot of efficient play shows Madridistas that tantalizing ceiling Mbappe has, and fans will undoubtedly keep a watchful eye on PSG to see their future transfer target’s continued progression into becoming a truly well-rounded attacking superstar.