Roman Abramovich bought the Blues in 2003 and Eriksson says he was repeatedly headhunted to take the reins.
The Swedish chief was still contracted to England when the clandestine approaches were made but felt he couldn't turn his back on the national side.
“But I listened to what Chelsea had to offer. Not in financial terms, it would have been the same more or less.
“That wasn't the question. It was what they wanted me to do and so on. I was interested, yes.
“But it came out and became a mess. I thought I couldn't do it and had to stay with England.
“When I say 'had to stay' it wasn't something that I went home crying about. I had a fantastic job that I was very proud to have."
Eriksson says Abramovich made contact again before signing the Special One.
He added: “I was offered the job when Abramovich took over, but when Ranieri left it was also discussed again.
"I don't regret it. You can't have two good jobs at the same time. It became too messy."