Jeremy Doku first had doubts about the trade, and Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne had to persuade him to make the £55.5 million move to Manchester City this summer.
Doku was a regular for Rennes and coveted by a number of teams; but, near the end of the transfer window, he decided on City. Last weekend, when he made his City debut against Fulham, Juanma Lillo, the assistant manager filling in for Guardiola on the sidelines, praised him.
The Belgian, who understands the wider picture of the game, acknowledged that he was ‘frustrated’ with his debut because he was unable to score or provide an assist. Speaking now about his overseas responsibilities, Doku claims that the greater picture kept him grounded when he initially learned of the City’s interest.
Doku also said that he held off on committing to the European champions until he had spoken to Guardiola, the manager of City, and Txiki Begiristain, the director of football.
According to Doku, “the first contacts were at the conclusion of the championship.” “I’m not sure; I’m busy with football as long as it’s not solid. I’m not supposed to.
“I say to myself, ‘Ah, that’s good’, but what is the project? That’s the most important thing. Go somewhere where the project suits me, where I see myself playing. I wanted to know what my role was. That’s what will attract me, being there and saying that I play for Manchester City.
“I spoke with the sports director, with the coach. That’s the key moment. When the coach speaks to you, it’s not just anyone. He explains to you what the project is, that he trusts you, what you want to hear. I found him quite sincere.”
Doku’s national team captain Kevin De Bruyne participated in the personal charm offensive after Guardiola persuaded Doku of the sporting project.
He had a part to perform. I was aware he was present, Doku stated. “When he first heard the rumours, he spoke to me and requested proof. He was questioned about me by them. It’s excellent that he appeared to have stated some encouraging things.
We kept in touch, and I asked questions when I had them. He wasn’t there when I arrived since he was undergoing surgery. Just the day before the match [against Fulham] in Manchester, I ran into him.