Former FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed why the club decided to pass on signing Kylian Mbappe when they had the opportunity.
In 2017, the Catalan giants signed former Borussia Dortmund star Ousmane Dembele for a mammoth fee of €135 million (R2.2 billion), making him the club's most expensive player in history.
Scroll through the gallery above to see Barcelona's five most expensive signings ever, per Transfermarkt
Fast-forward four years later and his market value is just €50 million (R849 million), per Transfermarkt, with the player having struggled with numerous injuries over the past few seasons, and this campaign is no different as the 24-year-old currently has a hamstring injury that has kept him out of action since July.
With many referring to Barca's signing of the Frenchman as a "flop" as a result, the club's former president Bartomeu has now revealed that, when they opted to bring Dembele in, they had chosen the ex-Stade Rennais star over then-teen sensation Mbappe.
"His [Mbappe's] signing was on the table, but the coaches preferred Dembele because they wanted a player to open the field," he explained in an interview on TV3 show Las vacas sagradas, per Diario AS.
"Some [signings] have not met expectations, players who have cost a lot of money, but these things happen in football.
"When these two players were signed, they were applauded by everyone. [Philippe] Coutinho came because [Andres] Iniesta was going. He was the best in the Premier League.
"Dembele came because of Neymar's departure. The parameters, according to the specialists, are 50% correct and incorrect."
Here are all the nominees for the 2021 Ballon d'Or award, including Mbappe: