But he decided to remove the "safety net" four years ago and move on.
With the number of changes in the managerial hotseat since Jose Mourinho was sacked in September 2007, Clarke is likely to have got a crack at the Blues' job.
Clarke, who took charge in the summer, said: "It wasn't necessary for me to move.
"I could still have been at Chelsea now if I'd chosen to take that path. I decided to take away the safety net to challenge myself and push myself.
"If I'd stayed there as the No 2 and got the chance to do the main job, who knows?
"It's possible - but it didn't happen because I chose a different path."