Martin Jol has revealed that prior to Christian Benteke's switch to Villa Park from Genk last summer, he was keeping tabs on the Belgian striker until the £7 million price tag halted any move to Fulham.
Benteke has scored 19 goals in all competitions this season following his summer move and is now seen as a bargain, with £7m looking like money very well spent by Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert.
The Villa striker is one of a number of highly-rated Belgian players now plying their trade in the Premier League.
"He was doing well and in the national team and wasn't an unknown player - he was playing with [Mousa] Dembele, [Dries] Mertens, [Jan] Vertonghen, [Thomas] Vermaelen," Jol told Football365.
"If you can play in that team you must be good. In England nobody knew him so Villa did well with their scouting system.
"I think he is an unbelievable player for them. He has scored 15 goals [in the Premier League alone].
"He was on my list as well. We only wanted to pay a certain amount. Maybe we should have gone to the bank or ask the chairman."
However, Jol isn't disheartened after missing out on Benteke as Fulham instead signed Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United for £4m.
"But we had Berbatov, so we are both happy.
"It would be impossible now [to sign Benteke] so sometimes you have to step back and be humble and say you are too late."