Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli sounded out Nice defender Mathieu Bodmer about a move to the south of France.
The striker headed to the Allianz Riviera on transfer deadline day after Liverpool agreed to let him go on a free.
The Italian reportedly had offers from Serie A, while teams in China and the Middle East were also eyeing him up.
But now Nice’s president, Jean Pierre Rivere, has revealed that it was one of the club’s own players, Bodmer, who lured Balotelli to Ligue 1.
“We needed a striker, and we were being offered average strikers that cost a lot of money,” Rivere told RTL.
“Balotelli made enquiries through Bodmer. From that moment, I thought that things looked good.
“It is not because we succeeded with Ben Arfa the first time, that we will succeed the second time. That would be too easy. We will see.”