Rotherham United manager Paul Warne says he was told Derby County were keen on signing striker Freddie Ladapo late in the transfer window, the Yorkshire Post report.
The Rams made five loan signings on deadline day as they strengthened their options.
Patrick Roberts and Lee Gregory both came in as attacking options, with the latter arriving from Stoke City and expected to provide competition for Colin Kazim-Richards.
But there were other stories on deadline day of Derby wanting Ladapo. The Sun journalist Tom Barclay reported the Rams’ interest before later suggesting a deal was out of the question.
Derby and Rotherham are relegation contenders. Why help a direct rival?
But Warne says he wasn’t aware until after the window shut, before saying he wouldn’t stand in Ladapo’s way should Derby return in the summer and the player wants to move.
“I didn’t get told there was interest in Freddie until after the window was shut. I think it went to the head of recruitment. It will probably be some we revisit in the summer. If Derby come knocking and it is something Freddie wants to do, it is not something I want to do. (But) I have said before with all of my players, once they don’t want to be here, then I am responsible for their lives and happiness. There is no shame on Freddie’s agent contacting us over a potential move. But at this moment in time it doesn’t suit either party,” Warne explained.
Derby ironically played Rotherham two days after the transfer window shut.
Roberts and Gregory entered the pitch with the teams locked at 0-0, and the latter missed a decent opportunity before Rotherham went on to score three times in the final 15 minutes.
Ladapo was also a substitute who came on later in the game.
The 27-year-old has made just 12 Championship starts for the Millers with term, with another ten appearances coming off the bench. He is by no means a regular.
The Rams may have felt he could provide short-term options out wide or upfront. But Rotherham were never likely to loan a player to a direct relegation rival.
It remains to be seen whether Derby return for him this summer.