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Manchester United’s Eric Bailly has admitted he could have been playing for their rivals, Manchester City, ahead of Wednesday’s Derby at the Etihad Stadium.
City were the frontrunners to sign the Ivorian defender, before Jose Mourinho called him up to seal a £30million deal.
Bailly, who was also being courted by Barcelona, says he thought it was a joke when his phone rang and the caller identified himself as Mourinho.
“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 recounted.
“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.”

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