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Apr 26, 2013

Allardyce reveals Lewandowski regret

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has revealed one of the biggest regrets of his time in charge of Blackburn was Rovers missing the chance to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski in 2010.

• Klopp quashes Lewi exit talk
• Press praise Lewandowski

Lewandowski, 24, will be one of the most sought after signatures in the summer transfer window after a standout season in the Bundesliga, with his four goals against Real Madrid on Wednesday prompting greater interest from a number of European clubs.

The Poland international's agent claimed he has already agreed to leave Dortmund, although Jurgen Klopp quickly denied those reports.

Allardyce admits he had hoped to recruit Lewandowski at Blackburn three years ago after scouting the forward at Lech Poznan.

But financial difficulties and an ash cloud in Iceland prevented what could have been a defining move for Rovers.

"It's true," Allardyce said when asked if he had tried to sign Lewandowski. "He was put forward to sign very strongly by our recruitment staff and unfortunately it was one that got knocked back.

"My distant memory isn't that great but I think (former Rovers chairman) John (Williams) and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money.

"I think they wanted three or four million euros but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn. I watched him play. But I didn't get the chance to meet him.

"I think his agent said he couldn't come over because of the ash cloud, yes. He's probably worth 40 million euros after last night."

Blackburn were relegated from the Premier League last season and are currently fighting for survival in the Championship.

Allardyce admits Lewandowski's recent performances have left him wondering what could have been.

"I think about it every time I see him play. Last night I was thinking it again," Allardyce said. "He would have had a period of getting used to the level and the physical presence, but with a talent like that it wouldn't have been too long before he started to shine and score goals.

"The level he is playing at now is unbelievable, not just his scoring ability but his ability to retain possession. There were a lot of people looking at him at that time as well but we had the edge over every one else because of the attraction of the Premier League. He could have used us as a stepping stone but it didn't happen."

Manchester United are among the favourites to sign Lewandowski if he is released from Dortmund at the end of the season and Allardyce believes more high profile recruits are required in the Premier League to revive the status of English clubs in European competition.

"I think we (English football) have had a bit of a knock-back this year," he said. "I am not sure if that will do anything to us just yet in terms of our status in the Champions League.

"I think that all those big (English) clubs will realise that they have to go out and invest even more again and hopefully we can grow back to where we were."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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