Barcelona had the opportunity to sign Kylian Mbappe before they decided to sign his compatriot Ousmane Dembele instead – revealed ex-club president Josep Maria Bartomeu in a recent interview. with AC
“[Mbappe’s] signing was on the table, but the coaches preferred Dembele because they wanted a player to open the field,”Bartomeu said.
The Blaugrana paid Borussia Dortmund 105 million euros upfront plus 40 million euros in add-ons to seal Dembele’s signing in summer 2017. The youngster’s transfer was directly linked to the departure of Neymar Jr, who had signed for Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona for a world-record fee earlier during the same window.
The 24-year-old continues to divide opinions at Barcelona, but one mega-money signing that was largely deemed a failure was Philippe Coutinho. However, Bartomeu defended his decision to spend upwards of 100 million euros on both players by claiming that those transfers were necessary to replace outgoing superstars.
“Some of the transfers we have done have not met expectations, players who have cost a lot of money, but these things happen in football.
When those two players were signed, they were applauded by everyone. Coutinho came because Iniesta was going. He was the best in the Premier League. Dembele came because of Neymar’s departure.”
Both Coutinho and Dembele remain in Barcelona’s books at the moment, although the latter spent a season out on loan at Bayern Munich.
Mbappe – whom the club could have signed in 2017 – moved to PSG, meanwhile in the same window, where he continues to play to this day. However, if rumours are to be believed, the Frenchman could be on his way to Spain in the not too distant future.
Real Madrid approached the Ligue 1 side, intending to sign the striker this summer, only to be rebuffed. Los Blancos are expected to return for Mbappe next summer, when his current contract expires.