Ex-Barcelona director Javier Bordas has claimed that the club opted against signing Kylian Mbappe from Monaco for 100 million Euros in 2017 and came close to re-signing Neymar in 2019 as well as admitting that sacking Ernesto Valverde for Quique Setien to replace him in January was a "mistake."
Bordas -- who served on the Barca board from 2010-20 -- revealed some secrets to Mundo Deportivo from his lengthy spell at Camp Nou, including how Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele was preferred to Monaco's Kylian Mbappe in the summer of 2017.
"We had the option of buying Mbappe for 100 million Euros when we were pursuing Dembele," he said. "I called Mbappe's father and he told me that he was not going to go to (Real) Madrid because Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale were there and instead he could go to Barca because Neymar had left.
"Monaco's president also preferred us over Paris Saint-Germain -- a direct rival. The explanation at the time was that Mbappe plays for himself and Dembele plays for the team. We could have bought Mbappe for 100 but the technical secretary preferred Dembele and Pep Segura supported him."
Bordas was also part of the operation to try to bring Neymar back to Catalonia from Paris in the summer of 2019 -- just two injury-hit years after he left for 222 million Euros -- and teased just how close the Brazil international came to leaving Parc des Princes.
"I know why Neymar left, he told me," he told Mundo Deportivo. "It is better if he tells you, though, not me. It is true that some players agreed to a lower salary in order to bring him back. Even Ney agreed to give up a lot of his PSG privileges to return.
"We were very serious about signing Neymar. We were so close that he thought he was coming, and so did I. Ney said that Barca was his home and that he wanted to return. We really wanted him to come and we tried in every possible way, but PSG are not a selling club."
On the decision to sack Valverde and replace him with Setien -- a short-lived stay that saw Barca slip from the top of La Liga and lose the title to bitter rivals Real Madrid -- Bordas recognized that it was a costly error.
"It was a mistake to sack Valverde while being league leaders," he said before adding: "It was also a mistake to bring in Setien."
Bordas also claimed to have tried to bring Erling Haaland to Camp Nou before he joined Dortmund instead but was blocked as staff doubted his ability to adapt.
"I recommended many players to the club like Haaland, Valencia's Ferran Torres and Dinamo Zagreb's Dani Olmo -- all for 20 million," he said to Mundo Deportivo. "Haaland did not join Barcelona because the technical staff told me that he was not a 'Barca type of striker' and that he was not a player with 'Barca DNA.' The truth is that players come, and you do not know how they will perform."
Barca managed to keep hold of Lionel Messi over the summer, now have Ronald Koeman in charge, are in a difficult financial situation exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis and recently lost wonderkid Ansu Fati to a lengthy knee injury.