Harry Redknapp revealed Tottenham Hotspur missed out on signing Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam "by minutes" before the transfer deadline.
Adam appeared to be nearing a switch to Liverpool on Monday on a frantic climax to the January window.
But after a potential move to Merseyside fell through, Spurs launched an 11th hour attempt to land the Scotland international.
Manager Redknapp has had a low-key month, with Steven Pienaar the only major signing, but the White Hart Lane chief revealed chairman Daniel Levy instigated a last-ditch move for Adam which eventually proved unsuccessful.
Redknapp told Sky Sports News: "Daniel rang me late on and asked if I like Charlie Adam. I said 'yes, he's a fantastic footballer'. He said do you want him, I said 'can we get him?'.
"We pushed on and tried to do it, Daniel was confident he could get it through. It went to the wire but we missed out by minutes."
Redknapp insisted Spurs had agreed a fee with Blackpool that superseded Liverpool's offer for Adam but the necessary paperwork failed to yield in time to complete the transfer.
He added: "Daniel dealt with it. Apparently the boy was definitely up for coming...apparently the chairman couldn't get hold of two shareholders who had to sign the forms as well. It's just one of those things."