Signing Isaac Mbenza on a €2.5m loan towards the end of the transfer window, Huddersfield manage to pluck one of the more intriguing Ligue 1 talents from France, and while they haven’t signed him permanently just yet, they have the option to do so for around €12.5m.
For the young Belgium U21 international, the move came at an opportune moment, even if he wasn’t originally planning on leaving Montpellier so soon after arriving from Standard Liège in 2017.
In a lengthy interview with DH, the 22-year-old opened up about his decision to leave the south of France, and why he was somewhat forced to by his then manager.
He said: “I had arrived at the end of a cycle, and I had the chance to sign in the Premier League. Entering this league is really complicated. The club is building, it arrived in the elite a year ago. [David Wagner] had the right words; he managed to convince me.
“I had a bad relationship with the Montpellier manager. It played in my decision. The club find themselves in it too. I only had one year of contract left. I was going to renew, but this offer arrived 10 days before the end of the window.
“They wanted to do it quickly. Montpellier gave me a choice. They would have been happy if I stayed. I would’ve renewed, it would have been advantageous. Either I stayed or I left for the best league in the world”.
The forward explains his relationship with Michel Der Zakarian started to deteriorate after a 2-2 draw against Dijon when he missed a chance to put his side 3-1 up.
Mbenza reveals that after the game, the former Armenia international ‘lost it and lacked respect’, which he didn’t appreciate, stating he went ‘beyond football’ with his remarks.
After that, despite sorting things out a few weeks later, it was never the same, and Huddersfield’s interest in his services somewhat came at the right time for him.
That being said, he didn’t automatically jump at the opportunity, knowing he needed to ‘weigh the pros and cons’ before making his mind up.
Thankfully for the Terriers, it all worked out, and Mbenza, despite only playing 22 minutes of Premier League football so far, appears to be happy.
It’s also worth pointing out that while neither club stated whether the option to buy was ‘compulsory’, Mbenza’s interview didn’t sound like he was planning on returning to Montpellier anytime soon.