Mason Mount has risked the wrath of Chelsea by claiming he already made his mind up about signing for Manchester United months ago.
The England midfielder completed his move to Old Trafford this week, signing for an initial £55m with another £5m due in add-ons.
Mount offered an emotional farewell to Chelsea upon his exit, having been at Stamford Bridge since the age of 6.
The transfer came after months of speculation regarding his future in London, with conflicting reports regarding his situation.
The 24-year-old midfielder ultimately left with one year left on his contract having failed to reach an agreement on an extension.
But Mount, speaking in his first interview as United player, has now suggested that decision came from the Blues – rather than him.
Asked how the move came about, he said: “Several months ago, it became clear that I wasn’t in Chelsea’s plans moving forward.
“Once I knew United were interested, my decision was made up. It is a massive club with huge iconic players who have played here and I wanted to be a part of that. A main objective of mine was to get in early, ready for pre-season.”
He will join his new team-mates for pre-season, with those not involved during the recent international games returning on Thursday (July 6). There are then friendlies against Leeds and Lyon before the squad fly Stateside to conduct their annual summer tour.
And Mount admits he has been informed he could be in for a tough few weeks under Erik ten Hag. “Pre-season is huge to get you in the right shape,” he added. “I want to be ready to go from day one.
“We have a big season ahead, we want to be successful and win trophies. I have heard a little bit about the first couple of weeks of training and it is going to be hard.”
“I’ve had the experience of playing there as an away team and it’s tough. You’re not just playing against the team, you’re playing against the fans as well. They’re always behind the team and singing the songs and it’s a theatre to come and play in.
“Now I’ve got the home kit on, I can’t wait to walk out there. Those Champions League nights are going to be special and now it’s the focus on doing well.
“It’s something you look forward to, if you want to do well you’ve got to beat everyone. You respect the teams you come up against, but we know what we need to do and we’ll be prepared for that.”