Former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou has revealed that he rejected the chance to join Arsenal on loan in January.
Arsene Wenger was urgently seeking striker reinforcements throughout the January transfer window and has long been linked with a move for the Ivory Coast international.
Reports of a late offer for Kalou failed to materialise as Wenger turned his attentions to completing a loan deal for Spartak Moscow midfielder Kim Kallstrom, but it now turns out Wenger did bid for his long-term target.
Speaking to French newspaper L'Equipe, Kalou said: "A possible departure? Yes, to Arsenal. It could have been done as a last minute loan."
Wenger seemed intent on replacing the injured Theo Walcott in January as the over reliance of Olivier Giroud began to tell on the team. Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo weren't proving to be adequate competition for the French striker, leaving a slot for Kalou to fill.
But Kalou, who, like Walcott, can play out wide and through the middle, says the transfer risked disrupting his plans for the World Cup this summer.
He added: "I want to finish third, prepare for the World Cup and go to the Stade de France to compete in the final of the French Cup."
Kalou spent six seasons with Chelsea from 2006 to 2012, making over 250 appearances and scoring 60 goals. He also won one Premier League title, three Fa Cups, one League Cup and one Champions League during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea rejected the chance to renew Kalou's contract in the summer of 2012, where he joined Lille where he has scored 10 goals in Ligue 1 this season.