New Birmingham City striker Nikola Zigic was being hunted by Manchester City and Aston Villa, according to the player's agent.
Blues completed the £6 million capture of Zigic from Valencia on a four-year deal on Thursday but his agent, Milan Calasan, revealed he had also met with representatives of City in Switzerland en route to Birmingham.
Casalan also claimed that Villa had "begged'' for the deal to be put on hold until Martin O'Neill returned from holiday. He told the Birmingham Mail: "In Switzerland we met with a representative of Manchester City. We wanted to hear his plans before we met with Birmingham.
"They introduced into the game the eventual sale of Emmanuel Adebayor so it was immediately clear that everything was long term, so it was no surprise we automatically withdrew from everything.
"Then we were contacted by Aston Villa on the day Nikola had already arrived in Birmingham. They begged us to wait a while. Without Martin O'Neill, no decision could be taken and he is on holiday.
"In that case, there was nothing more logical than to finish a job with the club where all the doors were open," Calasan said. "We had a great welcome from Birmingham. Alex McLeish (Birmingham) spent an hour chatting in the hotel to Nikola.''
McLeish has now spent £12 million on Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster and Zigic so far this summer, and he is expected to step up his attempts to sign Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia after reportedly having an initial £8 million bid rejected.