Barcelona turned down Erling Haaland and loaned former Portsmouth midfielder
Barca could have had a front three of Messi, Mbappe and Haaland
Josep Bartomeu may be gone, but the steady flow of stories reminding us how badly run Barcelona appear to have been in the last few years shows know sign of slowing.
Last week, we heard how - allegedly, of course, - they substantially overpaid Neymar and were planning on suing the Brazilian to get the money back. The week before that, a story ran that a construction company had asked for the club to be placed in bankruptcy over an outstanding bill for work at their academy. And all that comes after the saga surrounding Lionel Messi in the summer.
Now, former director Javier Bordas has stepped forward with details of how the club passed up the opportunity to sign Erling Braut Haaland last year, opting instead to bring in former Portsmouth midfielder Kevin Prince-Boateng on loan from Sassuolo.
With concerns over the lack of cover the club had for Luis Suarez at the time, Haaland is said to have been one of several players Barca had under consideration.
Interviewed by Mundo Deportivo, Bordas has explained why the free-scoring Norwegian, who is now with Borussia Dortmund, was not signed: "Because they told me that [he] was not a Barca player," he recalls.
"I understand that Bartomeu ignores the technical secretary, but the truth is that these players could have come, and then you don’t know what performance they are going to give."
In the end, a temporary deal with Boateng was struck.
Bordas also revealed how the club also considered a move for Kylian Mbappe at the time they brought in his countryman Ousmane Dembele.
Barca had just lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, and the prospect of filling the void left behind by the Brazilian appealed to Mbappe.
"Yes, when we were ready to sign Dembele, [Josep Maria] Minguella called me to tell us that Mbappe was within reach," Bordas adds. " spoke with Bartomeu and he told me to look at him
"I called his father and he told me that he was not going to go to Madrid because Cristiano, Benzema and Bale were there and instead he could go to Barca because Neymar was not there.
"The president of Monaco preferred for him to go to Barca so as not to strengthen PSG, a direct rival. And for 100 million euros it could have been done.
"But Robert preferred Dembele and Pep Segura supported him. The explanation was that Mbappe plays for himself and Dembele plays for the team.
"And since a winger like Ney[mar] left, Robert preferred a winger more than a finisher."
Had things worked out differently, a front-two of Mbappe and Haaland might well have softened the blow of Messi's eventual departure.