Micky Adams says Port Vale were close to signing Lionel Ainsworth before the winger was offered a better deal by Rotherham United.
Ainsworth was a free agent in the summer after leaving Shrewsbury Town and the 24-year-old was a target for several clubs.
Adams felt Vale were firmly in the mix to land Ainsworth, only for the former Huddersfield Town man to opt for League Two rivals Rotherham.
"We were very, very close to landing Lionel," said Adams.
"In the end it was between us and Rotherham, and we could not give him as much as they could."
Ainsworth has made five appearances since joining the Millers and is set to be part of Steve Evans' squad for Saturday's game at Port Vale.