It is relatively well known that, as a youngster, there were a handful on English clubs interested in signing Dayot Upamecano before he ultimately decided to join RB Salzburg from FC Valenciennes’s U-19s.
Even Bayern Munich had tried to sign him before he went on to join Salzburg, but they were unsuccessful at the time. Of course, he’ll now become a Bayern player as of July 1st of this year, but he recently revealed why, exactly, he decided against joining Manchester United, per The Athletic (via Football365).
Upamecano was incredibly eager to join Manchester United and didn’t really think about it twice, but he said that his parents advised him to think deeply about it. “I was a young boy. I wanted to sign for them straight away. Manchester United! But then my parents took me aside and said: ‘Let’s think carefully about this.’ We thought about it for a long time and then decided that going ‘etape par etape’ (step by step) was the best option for me. Everything Ralf [Rangnick] said came true.”
Upamecano was referring to the assurances that Rangnick had guaranteed him if he were to choose Salzburg instead of Manchester United. He had assured Upamecano that he would have a very solid chance of experiencing first team football at Sazlburg after working through feeder club, Liefering. That’s something that could not be promised, at least as assuredly, at United.
“Ralf was the most important coach for me. He’s a professor, a scientist of football, and he also cares about everything. He’s always there for you with advice on matters football and non-football, every single day,” Upamecano said of the former Salzburg and RB Leipzig sporting director. “It’s not natural for a coach to be this involved with a squad of 25 players. I’ll never forget what he did for me, he was a key person in my career. I’m eternally grateful,” he continued.
This summer, it will be a reunion (sort of) for Upamecano and incoming Bayern (current Leipzig) manager Julian Nagelsmann. Upamecano’s deal with Bayern was struck and officially announced well before Nagelsmann’s and Upamecano confirmed that he genuinely had no idea that his current manager would be going to Bayern with him this summer. “I had no idea that he would also go there when I agreed to join Bayern. It’s funny how that’s worked out. Julian is an unbelievable manager. He’ll show you a video every day to help you develop,” he said.
The French defender didn’t hold back at all in his admiration of Nagelsmann and his coaching abilities; “He doesn’t just tell you what you did wrong but gives you concrete advice to do it better. He really takes you to another level. For example, because of Julian, I have improved a lot in terms of opening the game from the defense with precise passes into the midfield, and he told me to use my dribbling abilities in order to create spaces going forward. He improves everyone, perhaps even the journalists he talks to.”