Kylian Mbappe continues to run down his contract at Paris Saint-Germain, with free agency beckoning for the Real Madrid-linked superstar, and Leonardo has denied that an extension offer worth €200 million (£166m/$222m) has been put to the France international.
PSG are refusing to give up on efforts to get fresh terms thrashed out with a prized asset, with there an understandable desire on their part to see the talented 23-year-old stay put.
Discussions remain ongoing with Mbappe and his entourage, but reports of a mega-money deal being put on the table have been rubbished by the club’s sporting director.
Leonardo told L’Equipe of the speculation regarding a €200m deal: “That’s not true, we haven’t sent a precise offer.
“There is one important element: I think that the last thing we will put on this contract will be the amount. We want to put him in the best conditions to become the best player possible. I think it will take two minutes at the end to put the amount.”
On the possibility of Mbappe prolonging his association with PSG, Leonardo added: “Our chances of keeping him? I can’t say, but we have possibilities.
“As long as there is no signature, we will try everything, we will do everything to keep him. I don’t think he will judge based on the result against Real Madrid.
“We have a new generation coming through, we have youngsters from the training ground, we have the desire to make other investments. What has been done by Qatar over the last 10 years has put PSG among the great clubs. Today, the club is a reality. It is loved, admired and respected.”
Mbappe linked up with PSG in the same summer of 2017 as Neymar completed his record-breaking transfer to France, with 156 goals recorded through 205 appearances since then.
He is yet to take on a challenge outside of his homeland, despite long-standing interest from heavyweight outfits in Spain, and Leonardo can appreciate why speculation regarding a move elsewhere refuses to go away.
The Brazilian said, with PSG hoping that iconic team-mates and a passionate fan base help to keep Mbappe in his current surroundings: “It’s a question of feeling. When a French player starts out, his objective is to play abroad. It’s no coincidence that in the 1998 world champion team, you had a majority of players who played abroad.
“In 2018, Kylian was the only one of the typical XI who played in France. [Paul] Pogba and [Antoine] Griezmann never played in Ligue 1, [Zinedine] Zidane made his career more abroad than in France. But at the time, there wasn’t a club the size of PSG.
“We are not sellers, that changes the spirit. Now I think Kylian has really thought things through. The feeling we had on Saturday at the stadium was magnificent. Something is being created, not just for him.
“I’m not here to be cheesy but other clubs don’t have ultras like that. It can weigh on you. It’s a feeling, made up of an accumulation of little things. It’s up to us to understand it and to know what it needs at any given moment.
“When you come to a team with maybe the best player in history [Lionel Messi], Neymar and him, you can say: who is first, second, etc.? But there is a harmony, a respect between them.”