How Kylian Mbappe’s huge wage offer from Saudi Arabia compares with stars of golf, NBA, NFL

Another option before the window closes is that Madrid might be enticed to pay PSG a sum of money for Mbappe. On September 1, just before the deadline, he could join Saudi Pro League team Al Hilal, who are allegedly proposing a one-year contract valued at €700 million (£602m; $772m), and then move to Madrid for free next summer after the contract expires.

Regardless of Mbappe’s decision, his financial situation is going to greatly improve.

In the distant past, they became devoid of significance, but to be frank, the figures being circulated here are repulsive and will elevate player salaries to an unprecedented degree of indecency. There is no doubt about it.

PSG would be paid a transfer fee of £300m, which is part of a £1 billion spending willingness by Al Hilal, the Riyadh-based majority shareholder that is now the majority shareholder in the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).

The transfer fee alone would be a world record, comfortably surpassing the (£190.3m; $245.8m) PSG paid Barcelona to sign Neymar in 2017.

Last month, Lionel Messi declined a €1.2 billion (£1bn; $1.3bn) two-year deal from Al Hilal to instead become a part of Inter Miami in MLS. In the meantime, Al Nassr, the Riyadh counterparts of Al Hilal, are compensating his longtime adversary Cristiano Ronaldo with £175m ($226m) annually.

The funds associated with the potential Mbappe deal appear even more staggering when you take into account Trevor Francis, who sadly passed away on Monday, became the inaugural £1million ($1.3m at current exchange rates) British player in 1979, transferring from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest.

Kieran Maguire, the football finance expert, has calculated that Francis’ 1979 fee, which amounts to £253.5 million ($327.3m) in today’s value considering the rise in revenue over time as an indicator of purchasing power.

The proposal from Al Hilal that would result in £258 million being transferred to PSG does not appear as unreasonable when considering the present circumstances.

Very sad to read of the passing of Trevor Francis, recall him destroying Brighton at Maine Road.

His 1979 transfer fee, adjusted for football inflation (revenue increases over time as a measure of purchasing power) would be £253.5 million today. That’s how good he was.

— Kieran Maguire (@KieranMaguire) July 24, 2023

Real Madrid, known for extensively renovating their iconic Bernabeu Stadium, could potentially sign Mbappe as a free agent in 2024. After bolstering their financial reserves with a successful season in the Middle East, the club seems prepared to pay a fee similar to that of Hilal Al, who is also ready to join.

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It is not surprising to see a negative reaction generated from the general public due to the high cost of living crisis. Especially when you realize that Mbappe stands to earn £1.65 million a day and his potential salary is broken down. The finances involved here are off the scale, so yes, it does make sense.

When comparing these figures to what other top athletes earn, Mbappe is completely out of kilter in terms of salary. He is one of the biggest stars in the most popular sport in the world.

When he chose to stay with the PGA Tour, another one of golf’s biggest names, Rory McIlroy, similarly said that he had to turn down an astronomical signing-on fee that stretched into millions of pounds. Last year, Tiger Woods also turned down a reported £800 million signing-on fee to join the Golf LIV-funded PIF breakaway Tour.

The common factor in the cases of Mbappe, Woods and McIlroy is that the money on the table came from Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, impressive amounts of money can be earned in golf, particularly in the Gulf region. Brian Harman, a U.S. Golfer, was able to pocket £2.3m ($3 million) by winning The Open Championship on Sunday. As a result, he will be rewarded with a cheque worth £13.2m ($17 million), as he emerges as the winner of this year’s FedEx Cup tournament, which marks the culmination of the full season’s events on the PGA Tour, based in North America.

MLB (Major League Baseball) and NFL (National Football League) franchises in North America are not shy when it comes to handing out big-money contracts, but it’s a different story in the NBA (National Basketball Association) and golf.

Here is an immediate caveat that points out the fact that there are no equivalent money prizes for qualifying or being relegated in any safer investment that exists in the three leagues where all shops are closed.

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Jaylen Brown, the 26-year-old, has just signed the richest contract in NBA history with the Boston Celtics, agreeing to a deal worth over £235m (£304million). This means that his annual salary will jump from £22.1m ($28.5m) to £47.1m ($61.4m) for the 2024-25 season, as the extension kicks in.

In the previous month, Jokic guided Denver to clinch the 2022-23 NBA championship. Under a five-year agreement, the Denver Nuggets pledged to compensate Nikola Jokic with $264 million (£204.5m), forming part of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke’s sports realm, which surpassed the previous NBA record established in 2022.

LeBron James, who is regarded as one of the best NBA players ever, will have accumulated £411.2m ($530.9 million) throughout his career if he remains at the Los Angeles Lakers until the end of the season, according to Spotrac, a website that breaks down contracts.

James, who is now 38, reacted to the news of Mbappe’s contract offer to run in Saudi Arabia for one year, implying he would do a similar thing as the character Forrest Gump in Tom Hanks’ movie, by posting a GIF on Twitter.

Me headed to Saudi when they call @RichPaul4 & @mavcarter for that 1 year deal! ✌🏾🤷🏾‍♂️😁

— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 25, 2023

If the Saudis are offering a substantial amount of money, Usain Bolt, who still holds the record for the men’s 100m despite retiring in 2017, playfully mentioned that he would consider returning at the age of 36 with a similar intention.

I’m ready to unretire for this one year salary $776M 🤔

— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) July 25, 2023

In 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning champions of the NFL, signed a 10-year deal worth £503 million to switch their quarterback to Patrick Mahomes.

Every time they secure a new contract, the annual worth of such a lengthy agreement increases, making them one of the premier players in the game at their crucial position. No other quarterback has managed to sign such a lucrative long-term deal since then.

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Earlier this summer, the Baltimore Ravens agreed to sign Lamar Jackson, their quarterback, to a five-year extension worth £203.3m ($262.5m) with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Joe Burrow is anticipated to become the highest-earning NFL quarterback on an annual basis in the industry. The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to offer Burrow a new contract that will likely surpass Herbert’s yearly earnings.

The 2023 MLB season concludes in November, marking the expiration of Shohei Ohtani’s current contract with the Los Angeles Angels. If he becomes a free agent, he has the potential to secure a lucrative contract worth $500 million (£387.3m). Ohtani is a unique baseball player who excels in both batting and pitching.

In the sport of boxing, there are substantial lump sum payments to be earned.

Floyd Mayweather, an undefeated retired American boxer known as “Money Mayweather,” faced Conor McGregor, a star from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), in a cross-sport bout that was Mayweather’s last. This bout, which took place two years later, resulted in a similar payday of around $290.5 million (£225 million) for Mayweather. For instance, Mayweather also generated vast earnings from a single fight against Manny Pacquiao in May 2017.

If Mbappe decides to accept the offer from Al Hilal, he will become the highest-earning player in any professional sport.

Athletes in the sport include a few players who can legitimately replace Messi and Ronaldo and take on the mantle of being at the forefront of the world’s most popular game. One of these players is Erling Haaland, who also includes Manchester City striker in the list. Before ever becoming brands in their own right, the biggest names in football comfortably sit alongside the Frenchman.

The Pro Saudi League can sense an opportunity to take the athletes to another level when they know that the PIF is running the money with abundance. Even though the athletes’ earnings are spread across multi-year contracts, they get paid what other athletes earn, and they take into account the interest of the people.

As both a professional sportsman and a brand, Mbappe would simply be the most recent addition to a lengthy list of individuals capitalizing on their value.

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