Midfielder Radja Nainggolan believes that coach Antonio Conte was desperate to sign him to Chelsea, but cast him aside at Inter Milan.

Speaking to Italian podcast Contracalcio, via FCInterNews, the Belgian looked back on his time under the Italian coach.

Nainggolan is certainly a player who made an impact on Serie A. He has played for the likes of Cagliari, Roma, and Inter in the Italian top flight.

It was at the Giallorossi that the Belgian midfielder was at the peak of his powers.

Playing under coaches like Rudi Garcia, Luciano Spalletti, and Eusdebio Di Francesco, Nainggolan was a driving force in Roma’s engine room.

Unsurprisingly, this led to no short of transfer interest in his signature.

Among the strongest links were those to Premier League giants Chelsea. Reportedly, Nainggolan was just about at the top of the list of Conte’s shortlist of midfield reinforcements in the summer of 2017 after the Blues had won the Premier League title in his first season in charge.

However, Chelsea were not able to agree a deal with Roma.

Then, one year later, Nainggolan made the move to Inter in a big money deal.

The Belgian certainly enjoyed some great moments in his first season in a Nerazzurri shirt. However, he didn’t quite recapture the form that he had at Roma.

Then, in 2019, Conte took over as Inter coach.

But far from taking the opportunity to work with a player he’d gone after at Chelsea, the coach found no use for Nainggolan. Inter signed other midfielders like Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi.

And the Belgian, meanwhile, went on loan back to Cagliari.

Nainggolan – Conte Wanted Me At Chelsea, But Not At Inter

“I enjoyed my relationship with Spalletti more than any other coaches,” Nainggolan noted. “Though I had a good relationship with others, even Conte.”

He noted that “At Inter I was no longer part of Conte’s project. That was clear to me. But he remains a great coach.”

“At Chelsea he wanted to sign me at all costs,” he continued. “But hen I went to Inter and he cast me aside.”

Nainggolan also spoke about former Inter striker Romelu Lukaku.

“He has a top, winning mentality,” the Belgian said of his former international teammate.