Eric Bailly has revealed that a late phone call from Jose Mourinho prevented him from lining up for City rather that United ahead of Thursday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola was keen to bring the former Villarreal defender to City this summer before Mourinho intervened to bring him to Old Trafford in a deal worth £30m.
The 23-year-old, was also being tracked by Barcelona, was Mourinho’s first United signing and admitted he did not believe it was the Portuguese on the phone when he first received the call.
“I was in the Ivory Coast, I got called from a Portuguese number, he introduced himself but I just didn’t believe it at first,” Bailly told the Mirror.
“Before I came to Man United, it was City who had been watching me. In my mind, I was going there. But then everything changed.
“It felt like Mourinho was the one who really wanted me. He showed more interest, he rang me and that’s why I’m at Man United.
“Man City contacted my agent, Barcelona as well were talking to my agent, but they weren’t as interested in me as Mourinho. He really pushed for the move.
“Of course the club is important when you sign, but the manager is so important. If a player feels like the manager wants you, wants to sign you, it gives you extra motivation.”
Bailly was also impressed with Mourinho’s track record in improving the defenders he has worked with in the past and that was another reason he picked the red side of Manchester over the blue.
“I’ve always thought Mourinho was good coaching defenders,” he said. “I used to watch Raphael Varane, saw the progression he made under Mourinho [at Real Madrid] and knew he could help me as a player.”