The Italy international was with Cagliari at the time and would eventually sign for Inter over the summer.
"Chelsea wanted to recruit me in January, the negotiations were concrete," the midfielder tells Gazzetta dello Sport.
"At Cagliari I said: 'It is no easy period for the team, I will stay here for the season.
"'Then I will make a decision'."
He added, "Do you see how Conte's team is running? It is not just because they are well prepared. It's the result of what he puts into your head."