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Ex-Barcelona director claims he was close to signing Haaland, Courtois and Mbappe



Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Barcelona’s transfer over the last decade or so have been largely hit and miss, especially during the Josep Bartomeu tenure.

While they did end up signing some excellent players such as Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, among others, more often than not their plans hit the dust.

The sporting director at the time, Javier Bordas, has now opened up on several transfers that did not go through for Barcelona eventually. Names that could have potentially changed the club’s legacy at the time, and kept them at the very top level of European football.

One of the names he discussed is Erling Haaland. Now at the top of his game, having scored 36 goals in the Premier League this season, the Manchester City striker was apparently available for €20 million early on.

“I spoke with Raiola at the time, and he was ready to sell him for €20 million. But, he wanted a commission of €20 million as well, and I was just a simple manager who proposed things, but there was a technical team that had to fit him in,” Bordas revealed, as quoted by MARCA.

Not to forget Kylian Mbappe, as well. His story about being close to joining Barcelona is well-known despite him being a Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo fan growing up. He was one of the players Barça were looking at to replace Neymar in 2017.

“It would have cost €100 million. We wanted a replacement for Neymar and Mbappe offered himself. He did not want to move to Real Madrid because of the presence of the BBC (Benzema, Bale, Cristiano) trio, but Barcelona preferred Dembele, and then Coutinho.”

“Coutinho has been the worst signing in Barcelona’s history,” he claims.

Ousmane Dembele was signed in 2017 from Borussia Dortmund as Ney’s replacement, with his transfer costing around €130 million. Six years down the line, it would be fair to say things have not worked out the way they were expected to.

In fact, the signs were clear early on, and as such, Barcelona were looking to bring back Neymar, as per Bordas.

“Neymar was close to going to Madrid. Since, I had a good relationship with him, I went to Paris to take care of him. He is the only player for whom PSG had made us a proposal to sell. It was a good proposal.”

“But Barcelona backed off. I thought about resigning at the time. It’s very frustrating. Trying so many different things that do not work out. Since I liked Barcelona so much, I did not leave,” he added.

Bordas also mentioned Thibaut Courtois, who was recommended to Barcelona in 2014, which is when they replaced Victor Valdes and Jose Pinto with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo.

“I was able to bring in Courtois’ name, too. It was when I was at Atletico. He preferred to come to Barcelona than go to Chelsea, but the coaches oped to sign ter Stegen and Bravo.”

Eventually, he also mentioned Lionel Messi, too, signing his praise as most do: “Messi is a genius, a phenomenon. The best ever. Very controlled, little party. He is married, in love with his wife, he is a great father. Neymar is horny.”

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