Sam Allardyce has revealed he missed out on signing Jamie Vardy for West Ham United for just £1million.
Vardy is currently the top scorer in the Premier League, having scored 10 goals in just 11 appearances for Leicester City this season.
The 32-year-old moved to the King Power Stadium in the summer of 2012 after plundering goals for fun at non-league level for both Halifax Town and then Fleetwood Town.
In January 2012, the jet-heeled striker impressed against local rivals Blackpool and manager Ian Holloway failed with a £750,000 bid.
The Cod Army earned promotion to the Football League largely thanks to Vardy’s 31 goals, but the forward was off to the Championship.
Allardyce, who joined the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on Monday morning, revealed he could have snapped the striker up long before the Foxes snared him.
He said: “When I was at West Ham and I needed some goals Mickey Mellon, who played for me, he’s a brilliant manager and he is at Tranmere now.
“But he rang me up and he said ‘We can’t sign Jamie Vardy; he won’t stay with us Sam. Give us a million quid and it will be the best signing you have ever made’.
“And that was quite a bit of money for a non-league player, I’m talking 2011, in my first season at West Ham.
“I just wondered if Jamie could jump out of the conference and come in for our first year of the Premier League.
“So I didn’t do it and I have been kicking myself ever since because he went to Leicester instead with Nigel [Pearson] and [Craig Shakespeare] Shakey.”
After initially struggling at Leicester, Vardy came into his own at the end of the 2014/15 Premier League season as he kept the Foxes in the top-flight.
His swashbuckling and aggressive style of play terrified Premier League defenders the following season as he broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record by scoring in 11 consecutive games.
After retiring from England duty last year, it seems as though the 32-year-old has gone from strength to strength.
And Allardyce has regretted the decision not to sign him ever since.
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He added: “I went to David Sullivan and he said ‘Non-league player for £1million? Will he go straight in your team?’
And I said ‘I’ve been told by his manager I will not regret it.’”