BROTHERS Steve Lovell and Eddie Howe today break their silence on Cherries failed attempts to sign the sought-after striker revealing that he even offered to play for FREE to seal the deal.
Lovell saw his hopes of linking up with Howe dashed following a Football League board meeting on Thursday.
In exclusive interviews with the Echo, the siblings state that Lovell spent pre-season at Cherries without being paid and turned down offers from SEVEN other clubs as he waited patiently for a Dean Court switch.
But Cherries ongoing transfer embargo now appears to have ruined the Verwood-raised forwards bid for a return.
Lovell, who came through the Cherries youth ranks before a shock £250,000 transfer saw him move to Portsmouth in 1999, told the Echo: Its a great club and thats why I wanted to stay and thats why I stayed as long as I did without being paid.
Its hugely disappointing. It was so close, yet so far. It was always find out tomorrow whats going to happen. It just kept going on and on, then it came to a head and Ive been told I cant stay.
I had my hopes and heart set on coming here, so now Ive got to go and try to find somewhere else.
Manager Howe expressed his disappointment at not being able to recruit his brother, who has scored goals north of the border for Dundee, Aberdeen and Falkirk in recent seasons.
Steve was prepared to sign for us for nothing, revealed the Cherries boss.
He would have received no money at all, purely for the fact he wanted to play and understood the situation regarding all the behind the scenes stuff.
We went to the Football League and put that to them, that Steve would play for nothing to make up our 20th member of our squad, but they still declined that.
Howe added: The Football League had a meeting on Thursday and made it clear that there would be no way that we could sign Steve Lovell.
Due to the embargo, they wont let us make up our 20-man squad, so we have unfortunately had to admit defeat in our quest to sign him.
I think its best for Steve now that he goes and finds himself a club.
Its a massive shame because hes worked ever so hard along with all the other lads. Hes done all the training, hes turned down seven clubs to wait for us and that was mainly because of my relationship with him.
I feel desperately disappointed for him. He wont struggle finding another club thats not a problem. Its the fact he had his heart set on coming here.
Its desperately disappointing to miss out on a player of his calibre.
With Cherries unable to bolster their injury-hit squad, Howe has named schoolboy Jayden Stockley and youth team players Danny Ings and Dan Thomas in his squad for this afternoons League Two clash against Chesterfield at Dean Court (3pm).