Marseille defender Jonathan Clauss has spoken out over the reasons behind his decision to reject a summer move to Chelsea, despite the best efforts of their new owner Todd Boehly.
The American and his consortium of investors took charge of the Blues on May 31, paying Roman Abramovich £4.25bn for the Premier League club. And despite spending an enormous fortunate on acquiring the side, Chelsea did not hold back on their summer recruitment.
Indeed, Boehly and Chelsea spent an incredible £263m in the summer. That is the most any single Premier League side has ever spent in one window.
The Blues’ major objective this summer was to strengthen their defence in light of some big-name departures. The exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen left the club with some big holes to fill. And with doubts emerging over Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta – both of whom were chased by Barcelona – it was clear where their attention needed to lie.
As such, they invested heavily in that area. Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana strenghened the central defence for a combined £106.6m. And Marc Cucurella was brought in at left-back, the Spaniard carrying a weighty £58.9m fee.
However, with doubts lingering over Azpilicueta, Chelsea wanted another option brought in at right-back. And the player they were most strongly linked with was Clauss, who at the time was available for a cut-price fee.
The 29-year-old enjoyed an outstanding season with Lens, earning recognition in the France squad in the process. But with an escape clause worth between £8.5m – £10m, Lens knew the player would depart.
As well as Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs were also credited with an interest.
Ultimately, though, he opted for a move across Ligue 1 with Marseille.
Chelsea snub revealed by Jonathan Clauss
Now Clauss has confirmed for the first time that Chelsea’s interest in him was genuine.
He was reportedly the subject of two approaches from Boehly – acting as Chelsea’s interim sporting director – to try and lure him to Stamford Bridge.
Clauss, though, has revealed two reasons why he decided to rebuff their advances.
And he admits he did not want to join Chelsea just for the prestige of signing for them. Knowing they have Reece James at their disposal, he clearly had concerns over his first-team prospects with a World Cup on the horizon.
Clauss also admits that he knew he wanted to sign for Marseille as soon as their interest in him became known.
“I didn’t want to sign for Chelsea to one day say I signed for Chelsea,” Clauss told Info Sport.
“It was really to try and keep playing, to discover the Champions League. Marseille ticked all the boxes I was looking for.”
Full-back has clearly made the right decision
Truth be told, Clauss would likely have earned far more money had he moved to the Premier League with Chelsea.
However, he would also have done himself a disservice with James very much a cast-iron pick for the Blues. To that end, Clauss will have found himself benched and sweating over his World Cup place.
Indeed, Clauss’ selection in Didier Deschamps latest Nations League squad fully justifies that choice. At 29 years of age, he may not get another chance to represent his country at a World Cup. Moving to Chelsea may well have scuppered those prospects.
And Jonathan Clauss has already established himself as a regular in the Marseille side. He already has 10 appearances to his name, including two in the Champions League.
Igor Tudor’s side are unbeaten in Ligue 1, having won six of their opening eight games. They currently sit second in the table, just two points adrift of reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain.