The Argentine World Cup winner made the switch to Stamford Bridge for an eye-watering British record fee worth £107m on deadline day.
Benfica president Rui Costa flew to London after Chelsea expressed their interest – with talks taking place on January 3 in a meeting where Chelsea owner Todd Boehly and Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes were both present.
Things then reportedly came to a head between the two clubs, with reports that chiefs of both sides were close to physical confrontation in a bitter dispute. Costa is said to have left the room in fury after Chelsea‘s dropped their original proposal of £107m to £80m with players to be offered in return.
The 28-year-old Croatian was put on the table though his salary – around £5m-per-year – made that scenario impossible.