Rotherham United were prepared to smash their transfer record to bring back Tottenham midfielder Grant Ward.
Millers manager Alan Stubbs - who yesterday broke the club’s transfer fee record to land Peterborough winger Jon Taylor - has revealed they matched the successful bid by Ipswich Town which lured the 21-year-old to Portman Road.
On-loan Ward made 43 appearances for Rotherham last year, scoring two goals, and Stubbs was keen to bring him back to South Yorkshire.
“We offered the same as Ipswich paid,” Stubbs said.
“Unfortunately, the player chose Ipswich, which I respect.”
Rotherham’s transfer record before this summer was £350,000 the Millers paid for Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Taylor’s arrival exceeded that fee, while Ipswich paid £600,000 for Ward, with add-ons potentially taking the figure past £700,000.
“That was another significant offer that we put in,” Stubbs added.
“We have to be realistic. If we’re in for a player, say, Newcastle are in for, we know we can’t compete.
“We are in among a group of teams where we have to offer them something different. What we can offer is that they’re going to be starting, and that’s not necessarily going to be the case at these bigger teams.”
Another new Millers recruit, Kelvin Wilson - signed on a free transfer - is building up his fitness after joining in training this week.
The former Celtic and Nottingham Forest defender, 30, is about 10 days behind the rest of the squad after missing pre-season.
“I don’t think he’s as far away as we thought he was going to be,” Stubbs said.
“He’s come in on Monday and done a little bit of conditioning work. The fitness coach, Warney (Paul Warne), was quietly pleased with where he was in terms of his heartrate and everything.
“We’re hoping he’s not going to be too far away. Maybe he’s a week, 10 days, behind everybody.”
Fellow centre-half Aimen Belaid has had a slight setback in his recovery from groin surgery.
“It’s literally a small strain,” the manager said. “It’s put him back days rather than weeks.”