Milan Baros claims he almost joined Chelsea – only for the deal to collapse because Shaun Wright-Phillips blocked a move to Aston Villa.
Eventually, Czech Republic striker Baros opted to join Lyon in a deal that saw John Carew move to Villa Park.
“It was practically a finished thing with Chelsea,” said Baros. “Everything broke down over the fact that Wright-Phillips did not want to go to Aston Villa.
“Martin O’Neill told me that without a replacement he would not let me go.”
Baros admitted talking to Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho after the goalless Premiership game at Villa Park on 2 January.
“We just spoke about the match. Just after the game in the tunnel he told me that he wanted me to join the team and asked me if I was interested. I told him so. But it did not happen in the end.”
Despite the appeal of moving to the Premiership champions, Baros said he has no regrets about joining Lyon.
“I would be sorry if I went to a worse club, but now I am at Lyon,” he added.
He admits he struggled during his time at Villa.
“I was injured, the club fought against relegation in the first season. They are close to the bottom again,” he said
“This does not help an individual and it is difficult to shine. And we did not play in Europe.
“I do not want to make excuses, Aston Villa was not a good contract for me and I am glad it is over.”