In France they call them the 'loft.' In English, it roughly translates as 'bomb squad.' They're Paris Saint-Germain's outcast group, forced to train separately from Luis Enrique's first-team group. They have little chance of playing for the club this season, and are simply kicking a ball about, awaiting a loan move or permanent transfer. There are many familiar faces here: Julien Draxler, Gini Wijnaldum and Leandro Paredes have been there for a while; it seems Neymar and Marco Verratti have since been added in the final week of pre-season.
There's also Kylian Mbappe. Once vice-captain, superstar, and assumed Parisian for at least the next 10 months, Mbappe has been assigned to PSG purgatory, well away from the team he was supposed to lead to a Ligue 1 title this year.
The reason for his exile is clear. Mbappe has informed the club that he won't renew his contract that is due to expire in June. PSG, in return, have put him up for sale, and might be forced into letting one of the world's best leave. For his part, Mbappe has turned around and insisted he is going nowhere.
This kind of thing has happened before, though. The Parisians have been publicly pushed around by Mbappe for much of his six-year stay in the French capital, a string of events in which PSG have eventually caved to his demands. But it looks different now. PSG have taken a stand, and are at least trying to demonstrate that no one — not even Mbappe — is more important than the club.
It's an admirable show of strength for a nation-state marketing tool whose footballing prowess is admittedly limited. They are entering new territory here, and taking a stand against one of their star players, silencing one of the most desirable assets in their portfolio — suggesting that, for once, there might be other, more practical, sporting priorities in Paris. How long it lasts, though, remains to be seen.