The 25-year-old midfielder appeared destined to be heading to the Premier League at one stage, with Liverpool leading the race for his signature.
Goal then revealed in August that Chelsea had rejected the chance to make a move after holding initial transfer talks.
Aulas has now admitted that was the case, telling reporters at the announcement of a new contract for Lyon centre-half Mariano: "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 was a man in demand for long periods having starred for Lyon in 2017-18.
That creativity and threat in the final third is what drew him to the attention of Premier League clubs, but both Liverpool and Chelsea eventually turned to other options.
Jurgen Klopp has bolstered his midfield ranks with the signings of Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri, while Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho have made their way to Stamford Bridge.