Kylian Mbappe's agent has said his client wanted to join Barcelona in the summer before securing a lucrative loan switch from AS Monaco to Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain.
"Mbappe said he only wanted to sign for Barcelona when he learned that Neymar was going to go to PSG.
"Barca could have had him for €120m plus €30m in variables. I spoke to his father and he only wanted to join Barca—he would have loved to play with [Lionel] Messi.
"It was very difficult to get through to [Barca president Josep Maria] Bartomeu, but I told him that Neymar was done [to PSG] and that he should sign Mbappe."
Marsden noted how Minguella also said Barca decided against pursuing Mbappe in favour of signing his fellow France international Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund.
With Dembele out for up to four months with a thigh injury and Mbappe thriving for Les Parisiens, Barca's decision begins to look more than a little curious. Mbappe has made a stunning start to life with PSG, scoring six goals and providing five assists across all competitions, per WhoScored.com.
Mbappe has thrived at PSG because of how quickly he has established a rapport with fellow strikers Edinson Cavani and former Barca ace Neymar Jr.
This dynamic trio is proving prolific, both domestically and in Europe, per OptaJean:
9 - Cavani-Neymar-Mbappe have scored more goals than 29 of the other 31 teams in the Champions League this season. Trio. https://t.co/QvxDN9coLt2017-10-19 08:57:33
The strongest proof that Mbappe's star is on the rise comes from his goalscoring exploits in the UEFA Champions League, where the 18-year-old attacker has already made history, per the tournament's official Twitter account:
Champions League @ChampionsLeague
Record! Kylian Mbappé (8) has scored more #UCL goals than any other teenager in history. 👏👏👏 https://t.co/QXCdxG2Ppa2017-10-18 19:04:35
One more interesting nugget from Mingeulla's interview involves the agent revealing how Barcelona's bitter La Liga rivals Real Madrid also showed an interest in Mbappe, per Marsden: "Minguella said that was not an option because Los Blancos were not prepared to sell Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Karim Benzema."
Real's reluctance to sign Mbappe presented the Blaugrana with the perfect chance to snap up Europe's brightest young star ahead of their old enemy. A Barca forward line of Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez would have surely given the Camp Nou club a better chance of supplanting Real after missing out to Los Merengues in both La Liga and the Champions League last season.
Instead, PSG are the beneficiaries of Spain's top two clubs deciding Mbappe wasn't worth the investment in the summer.