Chelsea turned down the opportunity to sign World Cup winner Nabil Fekir, according to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas. Fekir had looked set to join Liverpool in the summer transfer window. But the Reds pulled out of a deal to sign him at the last minute amid reports that they had either been spooked or prompted to renegotiate the fee agreed with Lyon due to the results of a medical.
Aulas has revealed that his club later spoke to Chelsea representatives about a possible deal, but the Blues had no interest in signing the 25-year-old.
According to the Daily Mail, he said: “In the beginning, when we thought about our summer transfer window and how to organise the future squad, we thought that he [Fekir] was practically gone. That’s why we have been able to adapt things. We spoke with Chelsea representatives, and they had no interest at all in him. From then on, we realised we could change our plans [as he would stay].”
Fekir scored 23 goals in 39 games in the 2017/18 season and was widely expected to make a big-money move away from his boyhood club.
He pinned his hopes on a switch to Anfield and was reluctant for Lyon to negotiate with other clubs. But the deal collapsed just hours before he was expected to be confirmed as a Liverpool player.
August 2016, Fekir was called back up to the senior squad for the first time since his injury for a friendly against Italy and a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Belarus.He had to withdraw from the squad three days later, however, due to an injury. On 7 October, he made his competitive debut for France as an 83rd-minute substitute for Antoine Griezmann in the 2018 World Cup qualifying 4–1 win over Bulgaria at the Stade de France.
He was selected in the 23-man French national squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He played the last nine minutes of the final, a 4–2 win over Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium, in place of Olivier Giroud.