FC Barcelona – La Liga Opted for Dembele instead
Kylian Mbappe tore Barcelona apart on Tuesday as he netted a hat-trick for Paris Saint-Germain in a 4-1 win at the Camp Nou, yet he could have been plying his trade for the Blaugrana.
Back in the summer of 2017, after Barcelona had lost Neymar to PSG for a world-record fee, the Catalan club actually had a deal in place to sign Mbappe from Monaco, but instead they opted for Ousmane Dembele.
“Yes, that’s how it was, I can confirm it,” Junior Minguella told Radio MARCA.
“In fact, now more than ever because a director has already confirmed it and given his version of the story, it’s totally true.
“We were in a situation where my father [Josep Maria Minguella] told us that Neymar had an agreement with PSG and was going there.
“The club’s directors either didn’t know or didn’t believe it and we were in that moment in which Neymar, due to a contractual bonus, had not yet confirmed that he was leaving and the club said that they didn’t want to take a step before Neymar left.”
However, Neymar would end up departing for the Parc des Princes and thus Barcelona had to find a player to replace him. Mbappe‘s name was on the table.
“The moment it is confirmed that Neymar is leaving, the coaches and the president [Josep Maria Bartomeu], who doesn’t want to skip over them [the coaches], have doubts about the player they want to bring in and they believe that Dembele is better suited to the team’s style of play than Mbappe,” Junior Minguella added.
Yet, Barcelona had the deal wrapped up for Mbappe. They just had to give the green light and the Frenchman would become a Barcelona player.
“We had the deal done at 130 million plus 25 million [euros] in add-ons,” Junior Minguella continued.
“Mbappe would earn between 10 and 16 million [euros] net.”
Mbappe, who was 18 at the time, ultimately moved to PSG that summer and, as they say, the rest is history.