'Very close' - Florent Malouda reveals why he snubbed Liverpool transfer after phone call to Rick Parry
Chelsea would go on to sign the winger for a fee of £13 million.
Florent Malouda has lifted the lid on how he came close to joining Liverpool - and that Gerard Houllier began negotiating the deal on the Reds' behalf.
The Anfield outfit showed interest in Malouda in the summer of 2007 after being beaten by AC Milan in the Champions League final - having defeated the Serie A giants two years prior on penalties in Istanbul.
At the time, Malouda was one of the most promising wingers in Europe, having scored 13 goals for Lyon the previous season. Rafa Benitez's Liverpool were aiming to bolster their attacking options to also mount a Premier League title challenge, with Fernando Torres recruited from Atletico Madrid.
Malouda was also identified and he could well have made the move to Merseyside. The Reds' former manager Houllier was in charge of Lyon and when interest landed on his table. Malouda - speaking to Jon Obi Mikel on The Obi One Podcast - revealed Houllier started thrashing out the deal with former Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry.
However, Malouda would instead complete a £13 million switch to Chelsea. He said: "Liverpool was actually the first to really show interest. 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.
"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."