Pep Guardiola’s meetings and telephone calls with potential Manchester City signings have been reported consistently since it was announced the Spaniard would be taking over at Manchester City.
At first it was doubted by a few: How could Guardiola ‘tap up’ players and Manchester City not get into trouble?
It seems there’s a way of doing these things which doesn’t annoy selling clubs enough to end up in a Liverpool/Southampton situation and have to make a grovelling public apology.
One of the players Guardiola is said to have pitched on a Manchester City transfer is Kylian Mbappe, and the now PSG star has confirmed it himself. L’Equipe have conducted a big interview with the player and as part of that there’s a little City section.
Mbappe, who is really quite good at these things for an 18 year old, explained: “He’s really a coach who breathes football. He won everywhere and he gives you a passion, he really makes you want to play, think only of the game, because he only speaks to you of the game.
“He does not even imagine what happens next. Coach Emery, too, talks a lot about playing. I love coaches who only talk about playing. Because that’s what concerns us. These two coaches have a passion for football that goes beyond their job. It’s good to work with people like that.
“When I saw him, we talked about tactical patterns, how he would use me. We talked more about it than about my qualities, because I know myself better than anyone. Even Guardiola cannot tell me what I know.”
Asked if, given all he’d said, it was hard to refuse an offer from Pep, Mbappe made sure to say: “I did not say no to Guardiola, I said no to Manchester City.” Ouch?
Asked why he hadn’t joined Real Madrid, Mbappe was honest about playing time and expecting more of it in Paris: “Because it allowed me to continue to progress and play. Me, what I want is to play. So from the moment you want to play, you go to a club that allows you to do it. That’s all.
“It is not a matter of certainty because we never have certainty. This is nonsense. No one will write about your contract that you are guaranteed to play, here, there or anywhere. But I felt that in Paris, I would have more chances than in Madrid.”
When Manchester City and Barcelona were put to him in a similar line of questioning, Mbappe answered: “Yes, but I am French and I chose a French club. This should make people happy to keep a good player in the Championship. What’s more in the best team of the Championship.”