Jordi Mboula was one of Barcelona’s most highly-rated young talents when he decided to leave the club in summer 2017 and move to Ligue 1 side Monaco.
The winger was just 18 at the time and had been expected to sign a new contract at Barca, but instead opted for a five-year deal with the French club.
Here’s what Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev said at the time:
“Jordi Mboula has shown very good things with the youth team of FC Barcelona and AS Monaco offers him an ideal environment to continue his progress.
“As we have done with players such as Bernardo Silva, Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko, we will support him and help him grow in our team.”
It was a bit sad to see Mboula leave and his departure was seen as a blow for Barca and a bit of a coup for Monaco. The Spaniard had been likened to Thierry Henry and played a starring role for the club in the UEFA Youth League.
His stunning strike against Dortmund in the last 16 showed exactly was he was capable of (and was even nominated for the Puskas Award):
The headline in Sport after that goal spoke volumes: “Jordi Mboula masquerades as Leo Messi to score a stunner.”
The 18-year-old scored another cracker in the semi-finals against Salzburg and finished the 2016-17 season as the competition’s joint top goalscorer with eight goals.
Yet a few weeks later he was off to pastures new for just €3m and no buy-back clause. He explained his decision in a post on Twitter:
”In life, there are moments when we have to make decisions and after a thinking about things very deeply, I decided I have to accept this new challenge,” he wrote.
”I feel ready and motivated to be able to perform as a player at one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
”I want to thank everyone at Barcelona that’s helped and supported me throughout the last eight seasons, I feel very proud to have defended the club’s shirt.”
Mboula also seemed to be pretty impressed with Monaco’s record with young players.
Jordi Mboula about the reason why he left La Masia. Goal pic.twitter.com/HNSBTyid4T— La Masia (@Youngcules) August 23, 2017
The teenager got off to the perfect start with a goal on his Monaco debut in a pre-season friendly win over SKN Sankt Polten in Austria. But he has struggled since then and has made only 10 first-team appearances.
Injuries disrupted his time at Monaco and he has since been sent out on loan twice. He joined Belgian side Cercle Brugge KSV on a season-long loan in July 2019. Injury again saw him miss a chunk of the season and the deal cut was short after seven appearances, no goals and one sending off.
Mboula then joined Segunda Division side Huesca in another loan in the January transfer window and made his debut in the 2-2 draw with Extremadura in January.
⚪️ AS Monaco attacker Jordi Mboula will spend the rest of the season on loan at Spanish side SD Huesca. All the best for the rest of the campaign, Jordi . pic.twitter.com/hG17khuHCU— AS Monaco EN (@AS_Monaco_EN) January 29, 2020
As we all know the season has now been suspended due to the coronavirus and it’s not clear when it will resume. Mboula may end up heading back to Monaco in June or he could stay on at Huesca. The club reportedly have the option to extend his loan for another 12 months.
Mboula certainly hasn’t managed to make an impact at Monaco yet but time is still very much on his side. He only turned 21 in March and will be hoping he can get a run of games when football resumes to get his career back on track.