Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric has confirmed he had the option to join Chelsea in January yet opted against such a move in order to play regular first-team football in the Premier League.
The Croatia international was highly sought after during the most recent transfer window following a prolific 17-month stint with Prva HNL side HNK Rijeka in which he netted 41 goals in just 39 appearances.
Despite being heavily linked with a potential switch to Stamford Bridge, Kramaric chose a relegation battle over the title race and became Leicester's record signing on a four-year deal for a fee believed to be in the region of £9m ($13.7m).
Although he did not meet manager Jose Mourinho in person, the 23-year-old claims the prospect of joining Chelsea with the likely possibility of leaving again almost immediately on loan did not appeal to him.
"I never had a chance to meet Mourinho, it is true there was an option for me to join Chelsea," he told Croatian daily Vecernji List, as reported by Goal.
"It wasn't an easy decision for me, but after I heard I was supposed to go on loan somewhere outside England, I rejected Chelsea and chose Leicester because I wanted to feel real football, I wanted to play in Premier League."
Despite rejecting Chelsea, Kramaric has evidently been impressed with what he has seen of them this term and believes their dominant position above the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal is fully merited.
"I've played against Man United, Man City and Arsenal, and I am not impressed at all by their strength," he added. "Chelsea is one step ahead of all the others."
Leicester, 17th in the league, welcome Chelsea to the King Power Stadium on 29 April buoyed by an impressive run of four consecutive top-flight victories that has given them a real chance of survival after spending several months rooted to the foot of the table.
After watching his rejuvenated side topple Burnley 1-0 on a tense afternoon at Turf Moor, some have suggested manager Nigel Pearson could be tempted to make changes to his starting line-up with vital matches against fellow relegation candidates Newcastle United, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers to come before the end of the season.
Pearson refused to rule that out in his pre-match press conference, although he stressed he has three fresh injury concerns.
He said: "My focus is Leicester City, we will always do what is best for us. If we need to freshen it up, we will. [David] Nugent is injured, [Jeff] Schlupp is injured, Vardy had an injection in his foot just before the game. We will assess it.
"All we are interested in is that our fate is now in our hands and the longer we can keep that, the better the chance we have of surviving. All I'm interested in is keeping our players focused on winning games."
If Chelsea, who could be without Oscar, Diego Costa and Loic Remy for the trip to the East Midlands, beat Leicester, they will guarantee the title by beating Crystal Palace in their next home fixture.