Marseille midfielder Giannelli Imbula has claimed he held 'advanced' talks with Chelsea before moving to the Stade Velodrome.
According to French newspaper Le 10 Sport, the former-Guingamp midfielder spoke to Chelsea officials over the summer before eventually deciding to join Elie Baup's side on the south coast of France.
The 21-year-old enjoyed an impressive start to the season, and has made 10 Ligue 1 appearances for the club so far this term.
Reports have linked him with a move to Stamford Bridge and he's now confirmed he came close to joining Chelsea during the summer window.
"Everything happened very fast," Imbula told Marseille club website. "Indeed, there was advanced contact with the Blues. But I do not see myself going there.
"Honestly, it seemed premature. At this stage of my career, the OM seemed to be the best club for me."
He faces stiff competition in the Marseille midfield, and the French under-21 international admits he's ready to fight for his place.
"I made a good start," Imbula continued. "I quickly adapted. [But] I acknowledge that I have been less good in some matches.
"Replacing me [in the starting eleven] was warranted. I fully accept competition. It is healthy. But before I compete with other players, I'm in a competition with myself."
Despite only moving to Marseille over the summer, Imbula is continually linked with Chelsea. A report earlier this month claimed the French club value him at £25m, with Stamford Bridge boss Jose Mourinho planning a bid either in January or this upcoming summer.
He's reportedly been the subject of Chelsea scouts' attention on several occasions already this season.
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