Lassana Diarra has revealed that Manchester City were interested in signing him before the midfielder reached an agreement to join Real Madrid.
The Portsmouth star has agreed a £20million move to the Spanish champions and will leave Fratton Park when the transfer window opens on January 1.
But the France international has revealed that the Citizens were keen to hijack the deal and keep him in the Premier League.
City boss Mark Hughes will reportedly spend £40million in January as he looks to shake up his under-performing squad.
"Were Manchester City keen to sign me? Yes, indeed," he told L'Equipe.
"On a financial level, I would have earned a lot more. I love the Premier League, but Real are very attractive. I believe I have earned respect.
"I was in England for five years and I have learned a lot of things there. I became very attached to the Premier League.
"You can't leave it that easily. But Real came and I was their priority. That makes you think. It is an honour."