Bakkali: I snubbed Manchester City to stay at PSV

The Belgium Under-17 international, who tops the Eredivisie scoring charts with three goals, turned down the chance to move to the Etihad Stadium two years ago
PSV starlet Zakaria Bakkali has revealed that he pulled out of a proposed move to Premier League side Manchester City in order to continue his development in Eindhoven.

The 17-year-old is one of the most highly-rated young players in Europe, and scored a hat-trick against NEC Nijmegen on Saturday in only his second Eredivisie appearance.

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And Bakkali says a host of clubs were interested in signing him, with last term's Premier League runners-up City at the front of the queue, but he was persuaded to stay at PSV by his father.

“A bunch of agents wanted to represent me after I was voted best youth player in the world at the Nike Cup at the age of 15,” Bakkali told Sport/Voetbalmagazine.

“I considered leaving PSV and even visited Manchester City to sign a contract there. But my dad convinced me not to leave and I signed a three-year deal with PSV instead.”

Bakkali has credited former Netherlands international Mark van Bommel, who retired from football after returning to PSV for the 2012-13 season, with helping him improve his game.

“Mark van Bommel played a big role in my development, just like Dries Mertens,” Bakkali continued.

“I have to learn to keep things simple. I can dribble one or two opponents, but they will foul me after that. Van Bommel in particular showed me that in training. He never hurt me, though.

“People already compare me to Romario because of my style of play, but I still have a long way to go.”