Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Gelson Fernandes has revealed that it was his preference to stay in the Premier League in 2009 but Manchester City refused to sell him to a domestic competitor.
Fernandes, who scored three goals in 43 appearances for City, looks back fondly on his time with the current champions, but rues the fact that he didn't get to spend more time in England.
With the Etihad side having been bought over by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, City suddenly had copious amounts of cash to spent on new players - and they did with immediate effect.
Fernandes suffered as a consequence, with no less then three players brought in for the same position in midfield.
“I will never forget my time there,” the 32-year-old told Goal. “I didn't want to leave the Premier League, but with Nigel de Jong, Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure, Manchester City signed three new players for my position.
“There was no room for me there and a transfer within England wasn't an option because City didn't want to give me to a competitor. That's how I ended up in Ligue 1 with Saint-Etienne.”
Nevertheless, Fernandes has good memories of that part of his career, reserving special praise for fellow midfield anchor Dietmar Hamann.
“I got to know many great personalities and top athletes during my time at Man City,” he said. “Didi Hamann influenced me a lot.
“He was an incredibly clever player, had personality, charisma and was a real leader. He was also very important to me personally because he gave me a lot of tips that helped me a lot in the course of my career.”
Having been at Eintracht since 2017, Fernandes was part of Niko Kovac's squad that won the DFB Pokal last season. Kovac was then poached to coach Bayern Munich in the summer, but things haven't been smooth for the 47-year-old.
A decent start to the 2018-19 Bundesliga campaign hit the breaks late September with a 1-1 draw at home to Augsburg, followed by two defeats plus another draw in the Champions League.
Talk of a crisis at the Allianz followed, although a recent 3-1 win at Wolfsburg and a 2-0 win over AEK Athens has gone some way to relieving some pressure.
Kovac still has his doubters, but Fernandes believes his old boss is the right man to get the Bavarians back on track.
“A few weeks ago he was still being praised because he had started the season so well,” Fernandes said.
“Then he didn't win four games in a row and already there was a big crisis. I can imagine that the team were at a low point because the preparation was tough.
“Nevertheless, I'm sure that they will find their way to their old strength. Kovac knows what he wants and can show the team the right path.
“Of course, you don't get much time at Bayern [if there are bad results], but I'm convinced he can lead the club out of the crisis.”
Eintracht host Apollon in the Europa League on Thursday evening, looking to add to their perfect start with two wins from two in Group H.