The Croatian, now at Real Madrid, was heavily linked with a move to the Blues after an excellent display in the middle under Harry Redknapp in the 2010-11 season - catching the eye in Spurs' first season in the Champions League.
"It was all very exciting," he wrote in Luka Modric: My Autobiography, serialised by the Guardian. "Twenty or so people, who seemed part of the security detail, met us at the boat. It was quick and well organised; just as we made ourselves comfortable on one of the luxury decks, Abramovich showed up.
"During our meeting on the Côte d'Azur, he left an impression of a relaxed, somewhat mysterious person. He wasn't beating around the bush and said: 'We know you are a quality player. I'd like you to sign for Chelsea'.
"My feeling was that it was time for a move – I wanted to fight for trophies and win titles, and I felt this wouldn't happen if I stayed at Tottenham. I wanted to move to a more ambitious club.
"'Do you think Tottenham will resist your transfer? Are they going to put up a fight?' Abramovich asked. 'I think the negotiations are going to be tough', I replied, because I knew the clubs were not on good terms."