Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has told of Benjamin Mendy's desire to work under Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and revealed the left-back was prepared to reject Chelsea in order to remain under the tutelage of Leonardo Jardim this summer.
Mendy became the world's most expensive defender during the transfer window, when City shelled out £52m (€57.2m) to prise him away from the Ligue 1 champions, but Vasilyev was hoping to bat away interest in the former Marseille star.
Vasilyev initially told Mendy that he would have to remain in the principality for the new season, but the 23-year-old made it abundantly clear that he had designs on moving to Manchester City. However, he did allegedly state on "numerous occasions" that he would snub the chance to move to Chelsea, who were also pursuing Juventus' Alex Sandro during the transfer window.
Chelsea failed to strengthen their left-back options during the summer, though they did sign right-back Davide Zappacosta from Torino for around £23m.
"For a while, we held off," Vasilyev told L'Equipe, relayed by the London Evening Standard. "And then, we thought – in spite of the offers that we had had for him and him indicating that he wanted to leave – could he have another season like the last one?
"At first, I said, 'no, you're staying.' He replied: 'But Vadim, I really want to go to City and link up with Guardiola.'
"On numerous occasions he said to me: 'If it was Chelsea, I'd stay; but if it's a chance to work with Guardiola, I want to go.'
"He'd spoken so frankly with me. So, when City met the asking price and when he became the most expensive defender in the world, there were no more arguments to have with him. We weighed up the for and against and said to him: 'OK, you can go.'"
Mendy's decision to swap Monaco for Manchester City seems to have paid off so far. The four-cap France international has started two matches for Guardiola's side, winning both and impressing many, and he will hope to build on his positive start to life with his new club when they travel to face Feyenoord in their opening Champions League group stage match on Wednesday (13 September).