Frank Lampard has revealed he spent much of 2013 "fully expecting" to leave Chelsea this summer, but insisted that he would never have signed for another Premier League side.
Lampard, 34, who broke the club's all-time scoring record and signed a new one-year contract extension with the Blues earlier this month, admitted he had all but given up hope of prolonging his stay at Stamford Bridge.
Yet the club's attitude towards his future changed over the last couple of weeks and the midfielder is delighted to have signed a new deal.
Manchester United were strongly linked with a move to sign Lampard if he were to leave Chelsea, yet any notion of him joining another top-flight English club was quickly dismissed by the player himself.
"I can't imagine being anywhere else after playing for 12 years at Chelsea. I have a lot of respect for other clubs, particularly the top ones, but I couldn't do it," Lampard told talkSPORT.
"I have always been very comfortable at Chelsea. At 27, they were offering me new contracts when I still had three years left on my contract, but they are looking to the future now. I understand that. I was caught in a bit of a transitional period and they were looking to the future and I had to convince the club I could be a part of it.
"From January to March/April of this year, I thought it would have been my last season, but I never wanted to leave and I'm delighted we got the contract done because I love being at Chelsea and if I did leave, where could I go if I left Chelsea? It would either be a step down in quality or stay at Chelsea and that has happened in the end."