Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan held talks over a move to Chelsea prior to the club securing the signing of N'Golo Kante from Leicester City. The Belgium international ended up staying in the Italian capital – but not before holding detailed discussions with Blues boss Antonio Conte.
'The Ninja' was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge during the summer as the club intensified their search for a holding midfielder. But after the 28-year-old promised to stay with the Serie A club Conte moved for Kante, who played an influential role in the Foxes winning the title last term and has inspired the West Londoners' title push this year.
But prior to acquiring the France international from the King Power Stadium, Nainggolan was seemingly Chelsea's number one transfer target and even discussed the possibility of moving to the Premier League leaders. The ex-Piacenza and Cagliari man remains keen on a move to England but will not discuss his future until the summer.
"If you bring me the sun I will come, certainly," he told Sky Sports. "I talked to him [Conte]. I know they were really interested and wanted to bring me over there. That is the only thing I can say. I watch [the Premier League] a lot.
"I have a lot of team-mates who play there. Everyone is talking good about the league and you can see it is the best league in the world. I'm happy where I am so why do I have to give everything away to begin again?
"Sometimes it is difficult to make choices in life but you can always talk about it. We will talk in the future again so it's always talking, year-by-year. It means that I'm always having a good season but I am always focused on what I have to do. When the transfer market is open again we will talk about it because at the moment it is too early."
Nainggolan did reveal in the summer that Conte was attempting to bring him to Chelsea, having made similar attempts to lure him from Roma while the Italian was manager of Juventus. The deal, understood to be worth £35m after two previous bids had been rejected, never came to fruition however.
"We've talked. He already wanted me at Juventus, but I told him that I would never go there," said Nainggolan, according to Sky Sports, in June. "Now he's trying to convince me to go to Chelsea and we've had a chat about it. He's an interesting person. We'll see. I don't know.
"We'll just have to see what happens. Certainly Conte's a good coach – you could see that at Juve, where he won, and also at Siena. He's told me what he expects of me and what type of a player I could be for him."