Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel has claimed Jose Mourinho was “desperate” to lure Breel Embolo to Manchester United before he joined the Bundesliga outfit this summer.
Embolo enhanced his growing reputation after scoring nine goals to help Basel claim the Swiss league title and was subsequently linked with a switch to United.
However, the highly rated forward ended up moving to Schalke in June on the back of turning out for Switzerland at Euro 2016.
And Heidel has since revealed that Mourinho had identified Embolo as a key target prior to him deciding to move to the Veltins Arena.
"There are a number of reasons why we signed Embolo," Heidel told the official Bundesliga website.
First and foremost there are sporting reasons. It's nothing new that he is a great player. There is a reason why Mourinho desperately wanted to sign him for Manchester United.
"But we also see him as a player the Schalke fans can identify with, a bit like Benedikt Howedes, Leroy Sane and someone like Ralf Fahrmann.
"Embolo had a similar role at Basel, where 80 per cent of the shirts they sold had his name on it. He is very open, is always smiling and makes it easy for people to like him.
"When we realised there was a possibility that we could miss out on signing him due to other clubs' interest, we had to move fast.
"President Clemens Tonnies happily made his plane available. We flew out to Montpellier at 1300 CET and returned five hours later. We had wrapped up the deal in that short period"