Last January, it was Leicester City trying to make a push for Stade Brestois’ Ibrahima Diallo, but their attempts came midway through the season.
This led to their efforts being dismissed by the Ligue 1 side, but this summer was a completely different story.
However, the Foxes didn’t return as strongly as some thought they might, leaving Southampton to swoop in and seal a late deal for the defensive midfielder.
The Saints came forward with a €15m bid, which was deemed enough to force their director of football, Grégory Lorenzi, to stick to his word of letting the player go if the right offer came along.
Speaking to Ouest-France on Tuesday, the club director explained how the transfer came about and why he couldn’t reject Southampton’s bid.
He said: “We had a deal when he signed for Brest when he had more interesting offers. The deal was that if he stayed at Brest, he had to have an exit pass at the end of the campaign. He had an offer that suited him and acceptable for us.
“I respected the deal, my word, our agreements. The first offer wasn’t acceptable (€8m + €2m) and the last one was. And when you don’t keep your word, you lose credibility in the eyes of your players. The offer arrived on October 3rd. Not simple”.
It ended up being a difficult situation for the Ligue 1 side, but, in the end, Diallo got his big move, and he’ll be keen to get into Ralph Hasenhüttl’s plans as quickly as possible.