Dagenham boss John Still has admitted he was pipped to Carl Martin's signature by League Two rivals Crewe.
The Daggers were among those interested in the former Wealdstone full-back, who was available as a free agent.
He had been training with Still's side in recent weeks, with a permanent deal expected to follow.
However, Crewe, who had Martin on trial over the summer before releasing him, stepped in with a two-and-a-half-year offer Dagenham were unable to match.
Still told the Barking and Dagenham Post: "If we had signed him on the money that Crewe were offering him then he would have been our top earner.
"He wanted to stay on at the club, but although I would have been able to offer a similar length deal, there was no way I could offer him that kind of money.
"It's a shame, because we wanted to have a look at him, but I'm used to these sort of things happening at our club, and I wish him all the best."