West Ham tried to sign Sander Berge in January but their offer was less than half the fee eventually paid by Sheffield United, Football Insider has learned.
The Londoners worked on prising the Norway international, 21, from Genk earlier in the window during their pursuit of a new central midfielder.
A West Ham source has told Football Insider that the club tabled a formal bid of around £10million for Berge, who eventually moved to Bramall Lane in a deal last week worth up to £22m.
Berge signed a four-and-a-half year deal with the Blades and became their record signing, trumping the £20m spent on Scotland striker Oliver McBurnie last August.
This was the kind of fee West Ham were unwilling to pay, even though they did eventually stump up a similar sum for their deadline-day capture of forward Jarrod Bowen from Hull City.
There was widespread interest across Europe in Berge after his impressive progress at Genk, where he had also been out of contract in 18 months’ time before the move.
Berge is regarded as one of the best young central midfielders in Europe.
He has already accumulated 20 senior Norway caps as well as 113 appearances for Genk after initially making his name in his homeland.
Chris Wilder slotted him straight into his Blades line-up for Saturday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace before he was substituted after 68 minutes.
In other West Ham news, it can be REVEALED that a big-earning Hammer has headed out for medical after agreeing terms of exit.