Roman Abramovich held a secret meeting with Luka Modric on board his yacht as Chelsea tried to sign the Croatian.
Modric revealed the news in an extract of his autobiography published in The Guardian.
And the covert rendezvous in 2011, when Modric was still at Spurs, was kept under wraps.
The Blues owner said: “We know you are a quality player. I’d like you to sign for Chelsea.
“Do you think Tottenham will resist your transfer? Are they going to put up a fight?”
But Modric recalled telling him Spurs would put up a fight and sure enough Daniel Levy blocked a move before letting him leave for Real Madrid a year later.