In a tell-all interview with Mundo Deportivo, former Barcelona director Javier Bordas has explained the club’s reasoning when they decided to sign Ousmane Dembele instead of Kylian Mbappe.
Bordas, who was amongst the high-ranking officials that left following Josep Maria Bartomeu’s resignation, admitted that the Catalan outfit had the chance to sign Mbappe in the summer of 2017.
Bordas states that the Blaugrana could’ve signed Mbappe from Monaco for €100m, but technical secretary Robert Fernandez preferred that the club recruit Dembele.
The La Liga powerhouses signed Dembele for an initial fee of £96.8m, in a deal that could be worth as much as £135.5m, as per BBC Sport.
Dembele has largely failed to live up to the mammoth price-tag and expectations since moving to Catalonia, whilst Mbappe has established himself as one of the best players in the world.
Here’s what Bordas had to say on the matter:
“Yes. When we were to sign Dembele, Minguella called me to tell us that Mbappe was within reach. I spoke with Bartomeu and he told me to look at him.”
“I called his father and he told me that he was not going to go to Madrid because Cristiano, Benzema and Bale were there and instead he could go to Barca because Neymar was not there.”
“The president of Monaco preferred that he went to Barca so as not to reinforce PSG, a direct rival. And for 100 million it could have been done.”
“But Robert preferred Dembele and Pep Segura supported him. The explanation was that Mbappe plays for him and Dembele plays for the team.”
“And since a winger like Ney (Neymar) left, Robert preferred a winger more than a finisher.”
The reasoning behind the transfer decision could annoy some supporters, with Dembele recruited as he was seen as more of a team-player than Mbappe.
It was reiterated that Dembele was seen as a more like-for-like replacement for Neymar in a positional sense – compared to the more central Mbappe.
Mbappe is now still on track to be the prime contender for the prestigious Ballon d’Or honour once Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi retire, whilst Dembele is showing encouraging signs after a difficult few years with Barcelona.