Edin Dzeko has explained why he has decided to snub a January move to Chelsea to remain at Roma.
The former Manchester City forward was high on the list of striker targets for Antonio Conte, but the 31-year-old decided to stay put with the Serie A side.
Eventually Conte got his hands on Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud for just over £15million after Arsenal were forced to sell him to enable them to get their hands on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dormund.
Dormund in turn wanted a replacement and Chelsea man Michy Batshuayi made the move to Germany in what was a complicated three-way striker move.
“It’s true that talks were held but that’s all I can say about it,” Dzeko told Italian media.
“There was a lot of speculation, false information and even some quite comical claims made. I felt honoured by Chelsea’s interest as they’re a club that I respect greatly. There have been so many stories about me leaving Roma over the past few weeks and I’m still here.
“It was an honour to talk to Chelsea but I am happy at Roma. This city is like my second home. My welcome here was unreal and I will never forget it.
“My children Una and Dani were born here and some of the best memories of my life are linked to this city. Roma will be in my heart forever.”
Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco admitted Dzeko had been distracted by the Chelsea speculation, but the striker did feature in the last two games against Sampdoria – the first of which he scored a 90th-minute equaliser in.
Ahead of the game with Samp on January 24, Di Francesco said: “As things stand at the moment, he will (start). Obviously I’m going to have to assess things and see what frame of mind he’s in. I’ll speak to him about it.
“I have to make sure everyone is ready for it – including the players whose names are in the papers.”
The Independent claimed that Dzeko had been offered a two-and-a-half year deal worth £100k-a-week at Chelsea, a deal which had angered some of Chelsea’s older players with the club’s policy to oonly offer one-year deals to 30-plus players.
Dzeko was also reportedly seeking assurances over playing time.