Alvaro Morata turned down a move to Tottenham because he feared competing with Harry Kane, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Morata, 24, made the move from Real Madrid to Chelsea last month for a reported £70million.
The Spain international had also been linked to Manchester United before heading to Stamford Bridge.
But Pochettino revealed Spurs had been interested in Morata previously, only for the forward to question whether a move was right with Kane starring up front.
"Morata talked about myself in the media," he said.
"He said: 'Mauricio called me'. That was from the beginning, two years ago or more. He said to me: 'Why do you want me if you have Harry Kane?'
"You know, if you go to try to sign a striker, they will say: 'Eh gaffer, you want me for what? To be on the bench?'
"Because it's Harry Kane, I can't compete with Harry Kane or Hugo Lloris or different players."
Kane has won the Premier League Golden Boot in each of the past two seasons, while he has netted at least 20 league goals in the previous three campaigns.
Spurs are yet to make a signing this close-season as they look to improve on their 2016-17 runner-up finish to Chelsea.