Former West Brom manager Pepe Mel has admitted that he offered Golden Boy-winner Pedri Gonzalez to various clubs before Barcelona eventually bought him.
Mel, who was the first senior manager to take a chance on Pedri, gave the young star his debut in August of 2019. Making his debut aged only 16, he would become Las Palmas’ youngest ever goalscorer shortly after that. His commitment to Las Palmas would last just 15 days after making his debut, as Barcelona snapped him up in an agreement for the following season.
Speaking to El Desmarque, Pepe Mel admitted that he touted the youngster to the two clubs closest to his heart before Barca sealed the deal.
“Pedri could have gone anywhere. It’s true that the Sporting Director of Las Palmas spoke with Milan and Barca. I was obliged to speak with the President of my club, Real Betis, and the club that brought me up, Real Madrid.”
“Out of all of them, Barcelona had the most faith. He hadn’t played a minute of professional football.”
Mel also explained how it was that Betis never made a decisive move for the Spain international.
“Betis were occupied with other signings, I understand it was difficult moment for them. They were focused on the exit of [Giovani] Lo Celso, the signings of Borja Iglesias and Alex Moreno.”
“I spoke with Angel Haro [Betis President] and I told him that this player would be a star. They told me that signing a footballer that they weren’t familiar with and didn’t know about was… difficult.”
Pedri has exploded onto the scene since. Barcelona sealed his signing for an initial €5m, which can reportedly rise to €30m in variables.