Former PL star reveals he was “super close” to Chelsea transfer before choosing Liverpool

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Former Chelsea and Liverpool defender Glen Johnson has revealed he came very close to returning to Stamford Bridge for a second spell.

The 37-year-old retired from playing in 2019, having had a fine career in the Premier League, winning the title, the FA Cup, the League Cup, and earning 54 caps for England.

Back in 2003, Johnson was brought to Chelsea shortly after the Roman Abramovich takeover, though he never quite managed to establish himself as a first-team regular, and ended up leaving for Portsmouth.

Johnson revived his career with Pompey, so much so that Chelsea tried to re-sign him, with Abramovich even coming to speak to him at his house.

However, Johnson chose a move to Liverpool instead, where he played for six years and enjoyed some of the finest form of his career, becoming a star player for the Reds before ending his career with a spell at Stoke City.

Johnson, speaking to Ladbrokes ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, said: “I had a couple of options open to me when I left Portsmouth – and a return to Chelsea or even a move up to Manchester City we’re both massively on the cards before I settled on Liverpool.

“I had Roman [Abramovich] and his team over at my house and they were trying to get me to return to the club, and I was super close to doing so.

“It was actually Tottenham Hotspur who were first to the table, but that offer came halfway through the season. That one fizzled out as the campaign went on, then I’d say Chelsea were the next ones who expressed serious interest in me, then Man City came in and, obviously Liverpool also came along.

“It’s a tough decision when you’ve got three world class teams trying to sign you; don’t get me wrong it’s a nice problem to have, but I feel like I made the right choice in the end.

“I’d already spoken to the majority of the Liverpool players before I made the move – they didn’t have to reach out to me, but a few of them did so beforehand and they were desperate for me to go there. I also wanted a new challenge; I liked the idea of moving away from London.

“Look, I could’ve signed for Chelsea and stayed living in the same house I was sat in with Roman when he tried to bring me back. I knew the area well, my friends and family were all nearby, and it would’ve been easy for me in terms of settling. But I actually thought moving away would help me and the family; going and experiencing somewhere new, not knowing what to expect, and representing a fantastic club at the end of it.”

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