'Dembele is clearly a better player than Mbappe' - Laporta
Dembele was Barca’s replacement to Neymar in 2017, when the Brazilian left for Paris Saint-Germain in a world record €222 million deal.
That same summer, Mbappe also moved to PSG, switching from Monaco in an initial fee of that remains the highest price ever paid for a teenager.
While Mbappe’s star has continued to rise at Parc des Princes, Dembele has endured an injury-hit spell with Barcelona.
Nevertheless, the former Borussia Dortmund winger retains the absolute support of his club.
Laporta has even claimed that the 24-year-old is a better player than Mbappe.
The Barcelona president was invited onto TV3’s ‘Els Matins’ programme to discuss Dembele’s future, with the winger out of contract in the summer and apparently stalling on a new deal.
Laporta, though, was bullish over his side’s chances of keeping him – and insistent on the quality of the player at his disposal.
“Dembele will stay,” the Barca leader said. “For me, he’s a great player.
“His agents want the best for him, but sometimes the best is not money.
“For me, it’s clear: Dembele is better than Mbappe.”
Dembele has also been the subject of praise from Barca head coach Xavi, who claimed that he could develop into the world’s best player in his role – if he can stay fit.
Physical issues, though, have been a constant source of worry for Dembele since arriving from Borussia Dortmund. He has featured only twice this season in fleeting Champions League appearances.
Dembele could, however, make his La Liga bow for 2021/22 on Saturday, when Barcelona face Real Betis at Camp Nou in an important clash for their Champions League hopes.