Florent Malouda has revealed how he snubbed a move to Liverpool in favour of joining Chelsea.

The Reds had hoped to sign the France international from Lyon in an £8m deal back at the start of the summer of 2007, only for the winger to decide he only wanted to move to Stamford Bridge. Having seen Moises Caicedo (and Romeo Lavia) do similar to Jurgen Klopp’s side earlier this year, doesn’t that sound familiar?

He would eventually complete a £13.5m move to Chelsea after a protracted transfer saga, as then-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was forced to turn his attention elsewhere. In the end, the Reds snapped up Yossi Benayoun from West Ham United and Ryan Babel from Ajax for a combined £16.5m instead, with the pair signing permanently alongside Fernando Torres, Lucas Leiva, Emilian Insua, Charles Itandje, Sebastian Leto, and Andriy Voronin as part of a £47m summer spending spree.

READ MORE: Transfer ban, points deduction, relegation - Man City punishments decided as Liverpool wait on Premier League

READ MORE: Four Liverpool players frozen out as Jurgen Klopp shows his ruthless side

Malouda recently appeared on old Chelsea team-mate John Obi Mikel’s podcast, The Obi Wan Podcast, as he revealed all on how his Lyon manager at the time, former Reds boss Gerard Houllier, was a driving factor pushing him towards a move to Anfield, only for the Frenchman to snub both Liverpool and Real Madrid to move to Stamford Bridge instead.

"Liverpool was actually the first to really show interest,” he recalled. “My coach as the time was Gerard Houllier, he had been at Liverpool for a long time.

"They were doing well in the Champions League. When I heard that there was an interest, I went to his office. It was funny, he loves Liverpool so much, he just made a phone call to Rick Parry at the time - and they started to negotiate my contract. He was the manager of Lyon making the deal for Liverpool! It was very, very close.

"The second club was Real Madrid but I really wanted to come to Chelsea. I knew some of the guys like Michael Essien, [Claude] Makelele, them guys and I was coming sometimes to watch the games. So I was feeling close to Chelsea.”

"I left Lyon because I wanted to win the Champions League and I had this feeling Chelsea was the place where I could adapt to the Premier League and compete to win the Champions League.

“It took us a bit of time, we lost the final in Moscow but it was the right choice. I had the opportunity with Liverpool and Madrid, big names as well, but I was feeling I would fit into that Chelsea team."

Admittedly, this is not the first time Malouda has played the, ‘I snubbed Liverpool to join Chelsea,’ card. In fact, he has been vocal about the Reds’ interest in his services ever since transfer speculation started to heat up back in May 2007.

“There has been contact with Liverpool, although I don’t know as yet if they have shown their interest directly to Lyon,” said Malouda at the time. “People make their decisions based on the different leagues in different countries, but I would rather decide based on the club. And Liverpool, why not? It is a great club.”

Set a deadline of June 30 to secure his exit by Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, which would repeatedly be brought up, he would later again name-drop Liverpool as he flirted with an exit after making it clear he was determined to leave the Ligue 1 side.

“There are contacts with Liverpool but they haven’t made an offer to Lyon yet,” he said, only marginally moving the story on. “It's no more advanced than that.

“They are a good club and play in the English league, which is very interesting. I have no preference, I can also move to Spain. People criticise the Italian championship, but an Italian club won the Champions League (AC Milan)."

“I'm on my way out,' Malouda told reporters at France's training camp at Clairefontaine. “It's just a question of time. Jean-Michel Aulas has said June 30 was the limit (for transfers) and that suits me.”

On June 13, 2007, the ECHO would report that Liverpool had turned their attention away from Malouda after Lyon slapped a £17m asking-price on the winger.

Chelsea were one of the rival clubs confirmed to be interested in the France international at the time. And he would later confirm that once he knew they were in the hunt, they were the only club he was interested in joining.

Didier Drogba, who Malouda had played alongside at Guingamp, was desperate to reunite with the midfielder. Consequently, while he would now reveal he spoken to Benitez several times, his mind was made up - despite the fact that Chelsea still hadn’t had a bid accepted by Lyon.

"Benitez called me several times and he is a good man, a good trainer, but we didn't manage to find a way to make me join," Malouda said. "He (Drogba) has been badgering me to join from the first time he played at Chelsea.

"I have told Lyon that I want to play for Chelsea. Of course I would like to play with Didier again."

Finally, on July 8, Aulas confirmed that Lyon had accepted a bid for Malouda. The following day, he signed a three-year contract with the club after travelling to London to discuss terms and undergo a medical.

The winger had gotten his desired move, as he continued to explain how the saga unfolded. And it included a claim that, other than Benitez, no-one at Liverpool had made him feel wanted.

"How could I go there (Real Madrid) when they didn't have a manager? I had people on the telephone - coaches, especially Rafael Benitez - but I had the impression he was the only one who really wanted me at Liverpool,” he said of rival interest.

"But I felt that everyone at Chelsea really wanted me. There were discussions between Lyon and Liverpool but I had so many friends here that my mind was made up."

Benitez would fire a dig at Malouda come the start of the season, as Liverpool prepared to host Chelsea in August, suggesting that the Frenchman had only moved to Stamford Bridge for the money.

"Some players prefer more money and it's something you cannot control," Benitez said. "Malouda was one of our names but decided to go to Chelsea.

“He knows why. I don't think it was because of the London lifestyle. The money? I don't want to say anything, but I know the answer.

“Those players are not here but I'm really pleased with my squad. Every year we try to sign the players that we think are good enough for us. Also, now in modern football, players prefer more money and that's something you can't control.

“I think that you must pay the money that you can pay and only pay the right money for each player. We can compete if we want but we want to pay the right money for the right players.”

In the years that have followed, Malouda has dropped his suggestion that Liverpool did not make him feel wanted. Instead, he suggests Chelsea were always the club for him, with the chance to play for Mourinho and play with former team-mates playing a big part in his decision.

“It’s true Liverpool did try to sign me. My coach at Lyon tried to make me sign for Liverpool but my mind was made up early,” he revealed. “I wanted to sign for Chelsea because at the time they were champions and to play under Jose Mourinho was an objective.

“I remember my first training session in Los Angeles with the club during pre-season. He (Mourinho) was so charismatic. He made you feel comfortable. I felt like he knew me, and I didn’t feel any fear or apprehension of how we would work.

“Work was work, and in your free time you were allowed to be yourself. For me it was great because you were trusted to be responsible. That’s what I liked with Jose.

“I was also close with players such as (Didier) Drogba, (Michael) Essien, (Salomon) Kalou, but all over the dressing room I saw most top international captains. It’s what I was looking for as that’s what I wanted to test myself against.

“The purpose for me was to sign for Chelsea where there was constant intensity and no comfort zone. Training was like a Ligue 1 game in France, so I learned a lot about myself.”

Meanwhile, ahead of the 2022 FA Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea, he revealed how he had often spoken about a potential move to the Premier League with Houllier, and how his Lyon manager was the one to first make contact with the Reds.

"Gerard Houllier was my coach,” he recalled when speaking to Genting Casino. “Whenever I was training, I would always ask him questions about the Premier League and whether or not I should play there.

"He said you have to go and experience the Premier League at least once in your career and then he grabbed his phone and called Liverpool – he literally made the deal for me. Liverpool were the first team to make an offer. Rafa was the coach and he really pushed for me to go to Liverpool.”

Malouda would eventually get the chance to work under Benitez, but ultimately never played a game under the Spaniard.

He had made 229 appearances during his first five years at the club, scoring 45 goals and winning the Premier League, Champions League, and three FA Cups. Yet a substitute appearance in the Champions League final win over Bayern Munich in 2012 would prove to be his final appearance for the club.

He would later see a switch to Santos collapse with the Brazilian side unable to afford his wages. In the end, he would join Trabzonspor on a free transfer in July 2013.

Stints with Metz, Delhi Dynamos, and Wadi Degla followed in France, India, and Egypt, before he finished his career in Luxembourg with FC Differdange in 2018.

Given his success at Chelsea, Malouda will have no regrets about choosing to join the club over Liverpool. Meanwhile, while he would lose seven of his 16 clashes against Liverpool with Chelsea, he still returned a goal, which came in a 2-0 victory in the club's 2009/10 title-winning campaign, and five assists against the Reds.

His five victories against Liverpool would all be on the path to greater things too, winning the 2012 FA Cup final at the Reds’ expense, knocking them out of the Champions League in the semi-finals and quarter-finals in 2007/08 and 2008/09 respectively, and completing a league double in the aforementioned 2009/10 campaign.

But what Malouda has made abundantly clear over the past 16 years, albeit for at times differing reasons, is he snubbed Liverpool advances to join Chelsea back in 2007. Be it financial, feeling unwanted at Anfield, or just the lure of Mourinho, Drogba et al, and London, rest assured, Florent. We get the picture.