Ezequiel Garay has confirmed he turned down important offers during the summer transfer window to move to Valencia to fill the gap left by the departure of Shkodran Mustafi to Arsenal. The revelations come after reports in Spain claimed that Chelsea launched a desperate offer to Zenit Saint Petersburg on decline day to lure the Argentinian centre-back to Stamford Bridge.
Garay, 29, has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in recent years. Manchester United and Arsenal were reportedly interested in his services in previous transfer windows while earlier this week The Times claimed that the Blues had made an approach to sign him as Antonio Conte was desperately looking to bolster his back-line.
Valencia local publication Super Deporte claims that the Blues eventually stepped up the negotiations on deadline day, making an offer worth more than €30m (£25.2m, $33.4m) to convince Zenit to part ways with the player. However, it is claimed that Garay himself decided to turn down Chelsea to move instead to Valencia in deal worth only €20m.
The former Real Madrid defender has now admitted during an interview with the club official radio station that he snubbed other clubs for Valencia, although failing to disclose whether Chelsea were one of them.
"Yes, there were offers from important clubs but from the very first moment I wanted to come (to Valencia) because they had been interested before and it was always my idea to come to Valencia," Garay said when asked about his reasons to join Valencia ahead of other clubs.
"I have teammates who I played with (at Benfica) like Enzo (Perez) or Rodrigo or Guilherme Siqueira and I they spoke highly about the club. The work of (club sporting director) Suso Garcia Pitarch and the club also encouraged me to come here and I'm grateful. Valencia have been interested in me for a long timer and finally it could be materialised now. I'm very happy."
Valencia, who also signed Eliaquim Mangala on loan from Manchester City, got this way his man to lead the defence following the departure of Mustafi to Arsenal. Yet, Chelsea also signed the centre-back they were desperately looking to add to the Antonio Conte's squad by bringing David Luiz back to Stamford Bridge in a surprising deadline day transfer from Paris Saint Germain.