The striker's move to Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian appeared to be off last month, but a deal was later agreed with Koln for an initial two-year loan with the option to buy for a reported total of €35 million.
Tianjin had also been linked with Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Modeste, who hit 25 league goals last season, said the Bundesliga were monitoring developments.
"All these clubs were interested, but as I told you, my club quickly talked with Tianjin," Modeste said to France Football.
"For my part, I had already refused twice. The third was the right one."
Modeste, who is yet to make his CSL debut, remains hopeful of a first senior call-up to the France squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
"It's a complicated issue," the 29-year-old added. "The most important thing is to be effective.
"[Tigres striker Andre-Pierre] Gignac was well-known as he developed in Mexico. Maybe I'll be called.
"The French team, it will come at the right time. Since I was born, I have looked at the squad lists, so I will continue to look."