Senegal international Lamine Gossama claims he rejected the chance to join Sunderland because of the threat of relegation facing the Black Cats.
Reports in France last week claimed that Sunderland had made a move for right-back Gossama at the same time as Lorient team-mate Lamine Kone.
But while Lorient were ready to cash-in on Gossama - who only has six months remaining on his contract at the French club - the 26-year-old opted to stay put.
Gossama - also linked with Southampton and Hoffenheim - says that was due to Sunderland's precarious league position, with the second bottom Black Cats lying four points adrift of safety.
"For me, it was difficult to go to Sunderland without guarantees because at present they are 19th," he told the French press.
"It was quite difficult for me to go, even though it's still a dream for me to go to England.
"We were unable to agree on a few details.
"I was offered a four-and-a-half year contract and it was interesting.
"But I wanted to put in a few clauses in case of possible relegation and at that point, we couldn't agree.
"So I preferred to not accept for the time being."