AFC Ajax star midfielder Frenkie de Jong wanted to sign for Manchester City before he agreed to join Barcelona at the end of the current season, according to Dutch journalist Marcel van der Kraan.
De Jong will move to the Spanish champions at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, with Barca and Ajax agreeing a £74.5m deal which was announced last week.
The 21-year-old has since revealed he had spoken with City boss Pep Guardiola – something which drew stern criticism from Barca manager Ernesto Valverde.
But De Telegraaf journalist van der Kraan has told Sky Sports that Ajax gave De Jong permission to talk with Guardiola and the player was keen on a move to the Premier League champions.
Van der Kraan revealed: "De Jong had made his mind up at an early stage. He wanted to go to one club which was Manchester City because they had a manager who he always believed in and who he thinks is one of the best in the world.
"[Netherlands head coach] Ronald Koeman recommended the player to Guardiola saying 'If you want a great midfielder who can help your team to do the tiki-taka and build it up from the back this is your man'.
"De Jong had a meeting with Guardiola but at that stage it was a bit far away.
"Ajax always gave him permission in the winter time to speak to a few managers including PSG's Thomas Tuchel.
"But if Man City had not been bothered by their own internal issues - and I'm looking at Financial Fair Play - he would've gone there.
"When that was not possible, PSG stepped straight in and wanted him and went up to a fee of €75m and the player agreed terms.
"However, Marc Overmars [Ajax director of football] - the wheeler dealer of Dutch football - knew there was bigger fish in the market and if there was a deal significantly bigger than they'd do that.
"Barcelona came in at the last moment, smashed it by another €15m and Frenkie says 'Okay, I'm off to Barcelona'."
De Jong and Ajax will be in Eredivisie action on Saturday night when they play at home to VVV Venlo. The match will be live on Fox Sports 2 at 20h35 CAT.