Newcastle manager Alan Pardew hopes that Wilfried Zaha is not denied the amount of first-team football he would have enjoyed at St James' Park after deciding to join Manchester United.
Pardew has made five signings so far in January, all from Ligue 1, but admitted that the club had been tracking the Crystal Palace forward for some time only to find themselves priced out of the market by the reported interest of United and Arsenal.
Zaha has agreed to join United and will make the move in July in a deal worth up to £15 million, and Pardew says that Newcastle simply could not match the money Sir Alex Ferguson was prepared to spend to bring the 20-year-old England winger to Old Trafford.
"I knew all about him," Pardew said. "For the last year we've been tracking him and talking to Crystal Palace.
"But it became very evident that trying to take a player of that ability from the Championship was not easy and bigger clubs were beginning to get involved and we were out of the equation.
"It's a shame, really. Coming to us he would play more games, but I'm sure Alex [Ferguson] would have a different view."