Roma's Moroccan international Mehdi Benatia has recalled rejecting the chance to sign for Chelsea while he was still on Marseille's books.
The talented centre-back has been excellent for Roma this season and is said to be a target for Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal.
But Benatia could easily have joined Chelsea during his time at Marseille, where he played between 2003 and 2008, graduating from the youth ranks.
"I lived with Didier Drogba and Claude Makelele. They were a great team and I didn't feel ready to go there at the time.
"They offered me a three-year contract but I was happy at Marseille and the thought of moving abroad scared me.
"It was Drogba who told Jose Mourinho that he should sign me. We knew each other from back at Guingamp and he told the coach that I was really good."
Chelsea may rue the one that got away as Benatia could command a bumper fee if he chooses to leave Roma in the summer.