Manchester City's "disgusting behaviour" and sham interest in Wilson Palacios was the reason the midfielder joined Tottenham Hotspur, according to Wigan Athletic manager Steve Bruce.
Bruce claims that City only registered an interest in his player as a political move when they were vying with Spurs for Craig Bellamy, agreeing with the Londoners to drop their interest in Palacios in return for Spurs not fighting them for the West Ham United striker.
Palacios eventually joined Tottenham for £14million last week and Bellamy joined City for an undisclosed fee on Monday.
An unhappy Bruce blasted: "I have to say Manchester City's behaviour was absolutely disgusting. If they had not come in a week last Friday and unsettled the boy, he would have signed a contract for us.
"He was wobbling and wasn't sure about going to London. We had offered him a contract and he was on the verge of signing that contract.
"Then Manchester City ring him and it's a different ball game. They have shown a lack of respect for this football club and the player himself."
"They used the boy as a weapon and used our club as a vehicle to get Bellamy."
City have rejected Bruce's claims that they behaved improperly and issued a statement to that effect.
"Whilst Manchester City FC has the utmost respect for Steve Bruce and his views, the club wishes to make it absolutely clear that the only inquiry made in relation to Wilson Palacios was by a private phone call to (Wigan chief executive) Brenda Spencer," it read.
"The call was made to establish the potential availability of the player. No figures were discussed or any bids made."