LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 18, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé after during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kylian Mbappe to Liverpool: Explaining the transfer talk and the fuel behind speculation

Kylian Mbappe’s name has returned to Liverpool supporters’ lips in recent days, and while speculation is baseless at this stage it comes as no surprise.

Mbappe is widely regarded as one of the biggest young talents in world football, if not the biggest, and remains one of the most expensive players.

The Frenchman joined Paris Saint-Germain from AS Monaco in a deal worth up to £166 million in 2017, and has scored 60 goals and laid on a further 32 assists in 87 games for the Ligue 1 giants.

He is already a three-time winner of the French top flight—once with Monaco, twice with PSG—as well as a World Cup winner with France, having only turned 20 in December.

But speaking on receiving the award for Ligue 1’s Player of the Season in May, after a campaign that saw him top-score with 33 in 29 league games, he described himself as being at a “turning point.”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 12, 2019: Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Manchester United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I have discovered a lot here, and I feel it is perhaps the moment to have more responsibility,” he added.

“I hope that can maybe be at Paris Saint-Germain, that would be a great pleasure. Or perhaps elsewhere with a new project.”

Mbappe is currently enjoying the off-season in the United States, and met with Liverpool stakeholder LeBron James during his stay, gifting the NBA legend a 1984 bottle of Pauillac.

The forward posted a video of his first day in California on Twitter—including his meeting with a Reds cap-wearing James—and from this, rumours began to emerge over a possible move to Anfield:

Paul Joyce, a prominent Liverpool journalist writing for the Times, retweeted Mbappe’s post, and this sparked supporters into life.

Though most of the responses to Joyce’s activity were lighthearted—eye emojis and “welcome to Liverpool”s—there are unsurprisingly sections reading too much into it.

According to betting aggregator Oddschecker, the Reds are now second-favourites to sign Mbappe from PSG, behind only Real Madrid.

At this stage, this should be considered nonsense, as though it is roundly claimed that Liverpool will pay big money to sign their priority targets, it will reportedly be a quiet summer for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

But adding fuel to the fire, and ongoing rumours of Mbappe joining in the future, is concrete interest in the youngster from prior to his move to Paris.

UEFA Champions League Semi-finals 1st leg match between AS Monaco 0-2 Juventus at Stade Louis II in Monaco. (Photo by Maurizio Borsari/AFLO)

In June of 2017, the Mail‘s Dominic King revealed that Klopp contacted Mbappe’s agent to discuss a possible move, while it was later claimed that a £87.8 million bid had been rejected.

Liverpool definitely held interest in signing Mbappe despite the lofty fee required, and it stands to reason that Klopp is still an admirer.

It may take more convincing that a likely world-record fee would be worthwhile—though the club have generated around £250 million from the Premier League and Champions League alone in 2018.

But while the current speculation should be dismissed, if Mbappe does become available don’t count Liverpool out of the running just yet.