FC Tokyo striker Yoshinori Muto has revealed that he turned down the chance to join Chelsea because he did not believe the club fit his level.
The Japan international striker, who scored 13 goals in 33 matches in his debut J-League season, emerged as a surprise target for Jose Mourinho last month.
Chelsea launched a £4m offer to sign Muto and were expected to complete a deal, but the player eventually decided to join Bundesliga club Mainz instead.
Muto will get the chance to play alongside his international team-mate Shinji Okazaki at the Coface Arena next season.
The 22-year-old says he was impressed by Mainz's desire to sign him and was confident his game could move to the next level.
He is quoted on Sky Sports as saying: "I wanted to keep my expectation realistic and play for a team that fits my level.
"I began to want to compete at a level above. They really showed they wanted me," said Muto. "From the word go I'd like to focus on scoring goals."
Chelsea's commercial interest
Muto was right to have rejected Chelsea as Mourinho seemed to hint that the £4m bid emanating from Stamford Bridge only came as a direct result of their commercial deal with Japan company Yokohama.
He said last month: "That’s modern football. That’s modern management. You cannot close completely the door to commercial interests."
It is likely the striker would not have featured heavily in his first-team plans.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://gms.to/writeforgms
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms