SAM Allardyce has admitted that he thought Blackburn Rovers were in pole position to sign Borussia Dortmund’s four-goal Champions League hero Robert Lewandowski – only for the ash cloud to intervene three years ago.
Lewandowski incredibly scored all four goals in Dortmund’s 4-1 semi final first leg win over Real Madrid on Wednesday night, after the German club beat Rovers in the chase of the Polish international striker in 2010.
Now 24, Lewandowski had been due to fly to Ewood Park to watch Rovers’ match against Everton during a brief break in the Polish season, as he weighed up his future amid rival interest from Dortmund and Italian side Genoa.
But the volcanic ash cloud emanating from Iceland grounded flights, and he never arrived.
With Rovers struggling to find the finances to make the deal happen, Lewandowski would soon agree terms with Dortmund and the rest is history.
Short of cash in the months before the club’s takeover, Rovers eventually added to their strike force with the signings of Benjani and Mame Biram Diouf.
Rovers still rue missing out on Lewandowski, even if they have no complaints about the form of current strike ace Jordan Rhodes.
“I’d like to see him and Jordan play up front together that’s for sure,” caretaker boss Gary Bowyer said.
“If we can arrange that for the next two games that would be decent!”
Allardyce, now in charge of West Ham, said: “It got blocked at that particular time.
“My distant memory is not that great but John (Williams) and the board said, ‘We are not going to commit that amount of money to him.’ “He was put forward to sign, very strongly, by our recruitment staff, but unfortunately it was one that got knocked back.”
“I thought at that time that we had an edge on everyone else because of the attraction of the Premier League.
“It was around three or four million euros, something like that.
“Financially, Blackburn Rovers was particularly strapped at the time and it was one of those where, I can’t be absolutely certain, but it did get turned down.
“I can’t exactly remember what the reasons were, but it did. I watched him play but I didn’t get the chance to meet him.
“He’ll be worth about £40m now.”