Jose Mourinho admits he was shocked to discover Chelsea were willing to sell him Nemanja Matic.
Having arrived at Old Trafford last summer, the Portuguese boss admittedly set about trying to bolster his options in the middle of the park.
But he didn’t even consider making a move on Matic because he never thought his former club would entertain the idea of letting him leave.
That stance changed, however, when he received a phone call which set the wheels in motion for the £35 million transfer.
“I was not thinking of signing Matic because I never go for players who I think are an impossible mission to sign,” said Mourinho. “I felt that there would be no chance.
“So when I got the call that Matic wants to play for me and wants to play for Manchester United – and that we could make it happen – I thought he’s the perfect player for me.
“When I joined United last year I thought immediately that we needed a Matic. There aren’t many like him. Just a couple. He is one of those players who has no question marks over him.”
Matic has made a strong impression during the early days of his United career, with some fine performances during pre-season.
And he is expected to make his Premier League debut for his new club later today when Mourinho’s side host West Ham.
“He won’t need time to adapt,” said the United boss. “He isn’t a young guy who comes from another country or needs to learn the Premier League.
“Only last week he was 29, with five years in the Premier League and lots of experience. And he is one of those players who gives me what I like: consistency. I can trust that he will perform.
“He is a fantastic signing.”