"Thomas Tuchel encouraged me to move to the Bundesliga" - Bayer Leverkusen newcomer Moussa Diaby
Bayer Leverkusen summer signing Moussa Diaby has revealed that Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel advised him to leave the French capital club for Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen.
Diaby produced six assists and two goals in 25 Ligue 1 games for PSG last season, making 10 starts.
With Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and former Schalke favourite Julian Draxler the competition for a wide attacking berth, however, the 20-year-old sought pastures new at the end of his first full campaign with the PSG first team, and it was former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund boss, Tuchel, who convinced him to further his development in the Bundesliga.
"He encouraged me to move to the Bundesliga and join Leverkusen," Diaby said at his official unveiling as a Bayer player. "He said it would be a great decision and that I'd learn a lot there."
Tuchel should know, having made his name in Germany's top flight. The 45-year-old tactician brought unparalleled success to Mainz after taking over from Jürgen Klopp, guiding them into Europe for the first time in 2011 before repeating the feat in his final season at the helm in 2014.
Following a one-year sabbatical, the most successful coach in Mainz's history again succeeded Klopp, this time at Dortmund, in summer 2015. He led BVB to back-to-back Bundesliga runners-up finishes, and bowed out having masterminded the Black-Yellows' first major trophy win since 2012 in the 2016/17 DFB Cup.
"I learnt a lot from him, just as I did from my fantastic teammates like Neymar and Mbappe," Diaby said of his single season under Tuchel's tutelage at PSG.
"He brought in a few methods from Germany to make us physically strong, and always talks to the players. He has a big heart."
Watch: Thomas Tuchel's top five Bundesliga moments
Diaby, who has signed a five-year deal with Leverkusen, is now hoping to put what he has learned into action in the Bundesliga.
"Before I finally decided to join Bayer 04, I watched a couple of games from last season.
"I really love the way football's played here – quick and with a lot of pressure high up the pitch. I think that approach suits my style of play.
"Other big clubs were interested in me but the overall package here - the playing style, the project and the fact that we'll be playing in the Champions League - fitted in perfectly.
"I want to play regularly and make the next step in my development rather than stand still. That's why decided to move on. PSG would have been happy to keep me, but I'm ready for a new challenge."
Bundesliga place on the line for Stuttgart and Hamburg
Stuttgart host HSV on Thursday in the first leg of the play-off to determine who will compete in next season's Bundesliga.
Official Bundesliga transfer centre: summer 2023
Find out all the ins and outs across the Bundesliga ahead of the 2023/24 campaign...
Who is Benjamin Sesko?
bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the Leipzig newcomer, who filled the sizeable boots of Erling Haaland at Red Bull Salzburg...