Bolton Wanderers boss Sam Allardyce has revealed that he was priced out of a move for Real Madrid centre-back Jonathan Woodgate last month.
The injury-prone 26-year-old will line up against Bolton on Saturday after joining Middlesbrough on a season-long loan, but if Allardyce had had his way it would have been the other way round.
"We had a try, but we never actually got to speak to Jonathan's representative," he told the Bolton Evening News.
"We could not get past the financial situation with Real Madrid. I'm not saying it wasn't worth it, but is was too expensive for us."
Allardyce added: "If Middlesbrough can keep him fit, he could be the buy of the season. But, if he starts with his injury problems again, it will be a bitter blow.
"Everybody knows his qualities, which he showed in the draw at Arsenal last week. He had as much pace as Thierry Henry on occasions.
"He's obviously going to be a key element for Boro, if he stays fit."
Woodgate joined Madrid from Newcastle United in a £13.4million transfer in 2004, but a serious thigh injury and problems with his hamstrings restricted him to just 12 first-team appearances during his two seasons in Spain.