Barcelona had the chance to sign Kylian Mbappe in 2017 but chose to pursue Ousmane Dembele instead, leaked WhatsApp messages have confirmed.
The Catalan giants were ripped apart by Mbappe on Tuesday night as the French forward fired Paris Saint-Germain to a 4-1 lead in their Champions League last-16 tie.
Barcelona’s stars had no answer for Mbappe’s brilliance, and among the helpless troop in blaugrana colours was Dembele, who left Borussia Dortmund to join Barca in a deal worth £135.5million in 2017.
At that time, Barca were searching for a replacement for PSG-bound Neymar and were linked with a swoop for then-Monaco wonderkid Mbappe.
But prominent football agent Junior Minguella claims Camp Nou chiefs believed Mbappe would not be a good fit at the club.
Minguella also provided text-message proof to back up his claim that Barca snubbed Mbappe in favour of signing Dembele.
Recalling the chaos that unravelled as Neymar joined PSG, Minguella told Radio MARCA : “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.
“Some even went so far as to say that this Mbappe was a ghost.”
Minguella also outlined the details of Barcelona’s package to sign Mbappe, adding: “We had the deal done at 130 million plus 25 million [euros] in add-ons. Mbappe would earn between 10 and 16 million [euros] net.”
After his account of the transfer saga was doubted on social media, Minguella posted his WhatsApp messages with former Barcelona sporting director Javier Bordas.
Minguella first sent Bordas the contact details of Vadim Vasilyev, adding: “If you want the phone number of the president of Monaco to speak to him.”
But Bordas took some time to reply and wrote: “Junior, how are you? Sorry, I didn’t tell you anything. Thanks for passing it to me. Neither the coaches nor the president wanted him [Mbappe]. As you have seen the option was Dembele.”
Is Kylian Mbappe the best player in the world? Have your say in the comments.
Minguella predicted Barcelona may have made the wrong decision by opting for Dembele over Mbappe as he responded: “You’re welcome. I don’t fully agree with your coaches. I hope I am wrong and that everything goes well.”
Indeed, Mbappe has developed into one of Europe’s best players since joining PSG, while Dembele has struggled for form and fitness since his move to Catalonia.
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.