Cesc Fabregas has revealed that Arsene Wenger passed up the chance to sign him because he couldn't accommodate the Spanish international alongside Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal had first refusal on Fabregas when it became clear the Spanish international was leaving Barcelona, but they waived the option and allowed Fabregas to sign for Chelsea instead.
Many Arsenal fans have expressed consternation at the deal, claiming Arsene Wenger is neglecting his squad while allowing one of the Gunners' main rivals to reinforce.
However Fabregas told Marca he has spoken to Wenger, who told him there was no room for him in the Arsenal side.
"When I decided that my time at Barcelona had ended, I looked for the best option for me. Arsenal was the first option, for contractual reasons" said Fabregas.
"There was a clause that gave them the right to decide. We spoke to Wenger and he said that the space was very well filled by Mesut Özil and it was hard to find a place for both of us in the team."
Ozil enjoyed a spectacular start to his Arsenal career after signing for a club-record £42m on transfer deadline day last year.
However his form became more erratic as the season progressed, reaching its nadir when he missed a crucial penalty against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Fabregas, meanwhile, endured a disappointing season with Barcelona, scoring just eight goals in 36 league games as the Catalans surrendered their league title and bowed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.