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Kylian Mbappé wanted to go to Barcelona, but they opted for Ousmane Dembélé, claims agent

Josep María Minguella’s testimony resurfaces

France v Greece: Group B - UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifying Round Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Kylian Mbappé is once again being linked with a move to La Liga. Most probably, he will go to Real Madrid. But there are rumors out of Paris that he could join Barcelona.

That last option seems unlikely, mostly because the club’s finances are assuredly not enough to afford him.

Still, it’s brought up an interesting question: why did the Catalans not sign him back in 2017, when he left AS Monaco and ultimately joined Paris Saint-Germain? It wasn’t due to lack of money, as Neymar’s sale to PSG gave the blaugrana plenty of cash to make it happen.

Josep María Minguella, an agent with ties to FC Barcelona, has told that particular story. He claims that ultimately, it was because they wanted Ousmane Dembélé instead:

“Barça received notice that Mbappé, who was in Monaco when they were selling players, would be delighted to come to Barça once Neymar’s departure assured him a spot. There are direct testimonies of this in the Barça board of directors and in the sports management headed by Raül Sanllehí. The decision on the Dembélé-Mbappé dilemma was clear. ‘Dembélé was a better fit,’ this was the phrase that Sanllehí told me.”

This account is supported by a former Barça director, Javier Bordás.

“When we working on signing Dembélé Minguella called me to tell me Mbappé was available. I spoke to [Josep Maria] Bartomeu and he told me to look into it. I called [Mbappé’s] father and he told me that he wouldn’t go to Real Madrid because they already had Cristiano, Benzema and Bale there, but on the other hand, he would consider Barcelona because Neymar had left. The president of Monaco preferred that Mbappé move to Barcelona to avoid making PSG, a direct rival, stronger. And the deal was on the table for €100m. But Robert [former sporting director Fernández] preferred Dembélé and Pep Segura supported him. The reasoning they gave was that Mbappé played for himself and Dembélé played for the team. And as he was a winger like Ney, Robert said he preferred the idea of getting another winger instead of a goal-scorer.”

A report in Diario SPORT quotes the player’s father as giving a different account. “I’m a Barça fan but Kylian is Real Madrid. If he goes to Barça now, he could never end up playing for Madrid. If he goes to another club, he could still end up at Madrid,” he supposedly said.

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