N’Golo Kante was prepared to snub interest from Leicester City and head to Marseille in the summer of 2015, according to former Caen team-mate Alexandre Raineau.
The 25-year-old is currently chasing down back-to-back Premier League titles, but his career path could have been markedly different.
Kante was a relative unknown outside of his homeland when Claudio Ranieri moved to bring him to England.
With Leicester looking for added steel in the middle of the park, a £5.6 million deal was put in place for a man who would help to guide them to a remarkable top-flight crown.
A year on from that agreement and Kante was off to Chelsea for £30m, having become a full international with France and graced a home European Championship.
He was, however, hoping to link up with Marseille and remain in Ligue 1 when interest in his services first started to mount - with those dreams dashed when Leicester put more money on the table.
Raineau told SFR Sport 1’s show Le Vestiaire: "He wanted to go to Marseille, but the club did not make the same financial proposal as Leicester, so Caen said no.
“He wanted to stay in France.”
Kante may have preferred to avoid English football prior to his arrival, but he is now revelling on a Premier League stage.
On the back of his inspirational efforts at Leicester, he has made a further 31 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea this season to keep them in contention for a league and FA Cup double.
He was also recently named Premier League Player of the Year at the London Football Awards.