Revealed: Aston Villa missed out on transfer target Joe Bryan by 15 minutes
Steve Bruce has admitted his pain at missing out on Joe Bryan - after revealing Villa were just 15 MINUTES away from completing a deal for the defender.
Bryan looked certain to seal a £6million switch from Bristol City earlier this week, only for Fulham to step in at the 11th hour and lure him to Craven Cottage instead.
The 24-year-old left-back had travelled to Villa in order to discuss terms on the move and even completed a medical.
Bruce revealed Bryan was heading back from hospital to Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground, in order to sign a contract and complete the deal, when the call from the Cottagers came in.
The boss said: “We were probably 15 minutes too late. Unfortunately he got a call from the Premier League.
“When that happens obviously, financially, the lure of the Premier League, it blew us out the water in terms of salary.
“It wasn’t to be. It is frustrating and disappointing. I would have liked him here. He fits the remit of what we are looking for.”
He explained: “He came up, had all the medical tests and came back to the training ground.
“In that 15 minutes of coming back from the hospital to here, his agent had the phone call. Fulham didn’t get their No.1 choice.
“To be fair he stayed in the Belfry for a couple of hours but the longer the day went on the more the lure of the Premier League and financial package, made him decide to go to Fulham.”
Bruce has been a manager for more than 20 years but admitted he had never previously come so close to completing a deal, only to miss out.
The manager will now look to address Villa’s on the left-wing through the loan market.
“It was painful,” he said. “Listen, if you are in my job, you get used to disappointments. It has happened, it has gone.
“I have done it now a long, long time. When I was younger I would be chewing wasps and wanting to smash everything in sight, kick the cat and the rest of it!
“It is all the work you put in, hour after hour after hour. But if it is not meant to be, it is not meant to be.”