Arsene Wenger says Arsenal could not afford to buy Jonny Evans from West Bromwich Albion in January.
The Gunners appeared to be the frontrunners to sign the 30-year-old, though Manchester City were also interested.
Although Alan Pardew conceded during the transfer window that Evans would be available for the right price , Evans ended up staying at The Hawthorns after West Brom rejected Arsenal's late approach, which was far off of the valuation .
Having already decided to spend a club-record £55 million on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Wenger says the north London side simply could not afford to pay what West Brom wanted while big-spending City were in the race.
"I said many times that we did what we wanted to do but not all that we wanted to do," he told BT Sport when questioned on their failure to land the ex-Manchester United player.
"He was not available for what we could afford."
Asked why he did not request more money from Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, he added: "If Kroenke gives you £200m, Man City then get £400m."
Arsenal are sixth in the table ahead of Saturday's north London derby match with Tottenham, who sit four points ahead of them in fifth.