28-year-old Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has revealed Chelsea tried to sign him during his early days at Basel but he turned down the offer from Chelsea because he was offered a place in the academy and not the first team.
“There were some player who gave the step to the English football, like Jonas Elmer, but then they did not stay in the elite (Elmer joined Chelsea from Grasshoppers in the summer of 2005 before returning to Switzerland to years later). When you receive such an offer, one has to decide for himself what he thinks is the best,” Rakitic told Spanish magazine Jot Down via IB Times.
“In my case, I thought that being part of such a big team not to be in the first-team, but in the reserves or somewhere else, was not interesting. I preferred to keep growing and be at home. I saw that it was easier to reach the first team at Basel than at Chelsea. My plan was to go step by step and, besides, the offer (from Chelsea) was not (lucrative) enough to go there two years and then retire.
“Maybe if I had joined Chelsea everything would have gone perfect but then the real happiness was also to stay at home,” Rakitic added. “However, (turning down Chelsea) I could as well have stayed in Basel and end working with my father in the construction. Apart from Jonas (Elmer), I also have a friend who chose to stay when he received offers and now he is playing in the fourth division. There is no an instructions manual to tell you which step you have to take (to succeed) in football.”