Hamburg SV chief scout Benjamin Scherner admits they beat Manchester City to the signing of Tatsuya Ito.
The Japanese youngster was snapped up by HSV in 2015.
Scherner recalled to the Hamburger Abendblatt: "We discovered Ito at a tournament in Dubai where our U17s played.
"Our delegation around Bernd Wehmeyer and above all Sven Marr settled it on the spot with Tatsu's trainers, that he was allowed to come to Hamburg. So we were able to beat out Manchester City, which was also at the tournament and had made a move for him.
"Sometimes you have to be fast."
City made a fresh attempt for Ito earlier this season before the 20 year-old extended his HSV deal to 2021.