Barcelona turned down the opportunity to sign Kylian Mbappe in order to secure a deal for Ousmane Dembele, according to the Catalan club’s former director Javier Bordas.
Dembele moved to Camp Nou in the summer of 2017 as a replacement for Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth close to £200m.
According to Bordas, Barca were offered the chance to sign Mbappe from Monaco, but the La Liga side’s technical secretary Robert Fernandez was of the opinion that Dembele would be a better acquisition.
“When we were to sign Dembele, agent Josep Maria Minguella called me to tell us Mbappe was within reach,” Bordas told Mundo Deportivo. “I spoke with Josep Maria Bartomeu and he told me to look at him.
“I called Mbappe’s father and he told me that we was not going to go to Real Madrid because Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale were there and that instead he could go to Barca because Neymar had left.
“The president of Monaco preferred that he signed for Barcelona so as not to reinforced PSG, a direct rival. And it could have been done for €100m (£90m/$118m).
“Robert preferred Dembele and Pep Segura supported him. The explanation was that Mbappe plays for himself and Dembele plays for the team, and since a winger like Ney had left, Robert preferred a winger more than a finisher.”
Mbappe has become one of the leading attackers in world football during his time with PSG, scoring 97 goals and registering 58 assists in 132 appearances for the French champions in all competitions.
Dembele, on the other hand, has largely struggled to make his mark with Barca and was strongly linked with a move away from the club over the summer transfer window.