Bologna general manager Roberto Zanzi has revealed that Italian clubs were unable to compete with Southampton following Gaston Ramirez's deadline day sale.
Saints completed a club-record deal to bring in the Uruguayan after a protracted pursuit during the summer.
Zanzi says the offer was too good to resist, while he was also pleased to bring in a quality replacement in the form of Alberto Gilardino from Genoa.
It may have been something of a surprise that Ramirez headed to the Premier League rather than continued his career in Serie A, but Zanzi insists Italian clubs are not as financially strong as their European rivals.
He told Tele Radio Stereo: "Ramirez knew that we would have sold him only with certain conditions. Such conditions happened only at the end of the market and so we had little time to act in the market.
"Despite the difficulties we were able to do a nice job by taking Gilardino.
"Ramirez accepted the Southampton offer because he couldn't refuse.
"Were there proposals from Italy for Ramirez? The economic situation of Italian football means at the moment Italian clubs are struggling to make similar proposals to those coming from abroad.
"Gaston eventually opted for the Premier League."