Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel has claimed they beat Manchester United to the signing of Switzerland international Breel Embolo.
Embolo’s growing reputation was enhanced last season as Basel lifted the Swiss title, the 19-year-old scoring 10 league goals as they romped to the championship.
His transfer to the Bundesliga outfit was in June during Euro 2016 and Heidel has made it clear they had to move quickly to keep him out of United’s hands.
“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.”