Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has revealed how Jose Mourinho's personal phone call to the France youth international dissuaded him from joining Manchester United.
Zouma signed for the Blues in January but was loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the remainder of the campaign and will link up with his new club this summer ahead of next season.
The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the most promising players in Europe and naturally attracted interest from across the continent including United, but a personal approach from Chelsea manager Mourinho secured the move to Stamford Bridge.
"I really wanted to go to Chelsea," the France Under-21 international told France Football magazine. "Did I have other offers? Yes, there were Internazionale, Monaco and Manchester United. All those clubs called," he continued.
"Monaco was the first to call, with the sport director. I thought about it, but with Mr Mourinho, that is a strong signal.
"I know it is a risky choice, but I wanted to catch that train. I didn't know if I would get that opportunity again. By signing at Chelsea I am keen to reach a new level."
As Chelsea were busy sealing a deal for Zouma, United signed playmaker Juan Mata – who became the club's record signing in January.
Though captain John Terry has signed a new deal at Chelsea, Zouma is seen as the long-term replacement for the club skipper, with his 6 ft 3 in frame making him the ideal understudy to the former England international.
The youngster's meteoric rise has heightened his ambitions upon joining Chelsea, and after hearing from Mourinho earlier in the season he is targeting becoming one of France's best defenders.
"When I had a phone call from Mourinho, I thought someone was imitating him," he added.
"First, I could hardly talk. It is very flattering to have a call from one of the best coaches in the world.
"He told me I have an interesting profile and he wanted to do with me what he did with Raphael Varane at Real Madrid. Thanks to him he became one of the best French defenders.
"When you hear that, you reply yes immediately. Being one of the best French defenders is an objective for me."