Inside story on how Mason Mount joined Chelsea over West Ham, Tottenham and Southampton
Why? Because his heart was set on Chelsea – and it has turned out to be the best decision he could have made.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Stamford Bridge, becoming a key player under a new regime with club legend Frank Lampard at the helm.
He has already played 17 times for the Blues, netting four times and grabbing two assists and has also broken into Gareth Southgate’s England set-up.
Mount has been at Chelsea since 2005 when he was joined at the age of six after impressing club scouts in Portsmouth, his father, Tony, explained.
He exclusively told Starsport: “He played in a little tournament locally to us in Portsmouth and a Chelsea scout approached me and my wife as we walked back to the car.
“He asked me if he could invite Mason up to the development centre and that is how it all started.
“Initially for the first two years up to the under-eights it was every Friday evening training at the development centre at Cobham at the training ground.
“Once he got offered a place in the academy to sign it went to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and then Sunday matches in the academy league.
“So it was four times a week for 10 years. It was a lot of mileage, I went through a few cars!”
Chelsea were not the only club in for the midfielder with a number of top sides looking to sign him to their development squads.
Ultimately, the high level of competition convinced a very young Mount to aim for the top and snub interest from the likes of Tottenham and West Ham, as well as south-coast sides Southampton, Brighton and Bournemouth .
Mount Sr added: “Chelsea were the first ones [to approach] but within three months Mason’s school approached me and recommended Portsmouth and then Portsmouth phoned me and invited him to their development centre so he was training down there as on a Monday night.
“So he was doing Monday down there and Fridays up at Cobham and then he was playing Sundays with his school team.
“Southampton scouted him, Brighton as well, Bournemouth – I remember there was quite a bit of interest when we went up for a tournament in London and we had Tottenham and West Ham coming ask us about him as well.
“His heart was set on Chelsea, Mason was just so happy there – he couldn’t wait to go and he enjoyed it so much.
“When it came to the crunch of signing he did have options and I did ask him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to sign for Chelsea.
“I asked him why and I will always remember it he said ‘it’s so hard there, the players are so good and it is so hard and I want to go there.’
“He had sessions at Portsmouth and Southampton as well and he said the standard at Chelsea is so high and I just want to be there and play with them.”