New Marseille signing Dimitri Payet was in fact a target for Sevilla, albeit a longshot, club director of football Monchi said.
Payet was presented to French media on Monday after completing his £25 million return to the Stade Velodrome where he has signed a four-and-a-half year contract just 18 months after leaving the Ligue 1 club for West Ham.
"The effort was real, but it was something that was beyond even the impossible," Monchi said on Wednesday. "He was trying to take advantage of the situation between his club [West Ham] and Marseille. There had been a slight chance for us, but in the end, they reached an agreement and the transfer was made. But we held out hope."
Payet and West Ham battled for nearly a month after Payet informed the club that he wanted to leave.
Payet became a star at West Ham for his performances during his first season in England, helping the club finish seventh in the Premier League and earning himself a nomination for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.
Monchi said he feels that Sevilla are a strong enough team to attract top players and pointed to the example of Rosario Central's young star, Walter Montoya, who joined the club at the winter transfer deadline.
"I have a brand [Sevilla] that means I can make this type of offers," Monchi said.
Regarding Montoya, Monchi said: "He didn't want to even discuss the possibility of leaving his club until June -- until Sevilla called. That is how strong our brand is."
The 23-year-old signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with the club, who are eager to overhaul Real Madrid's four-point lead in the Spanish top flight while also competing in the Champions League.
- Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) February 1, 2017
Monchi said the club were pleased overall with their transfer movement.
"It was a very active market for us with [Timothee] Kolodziejczak, [Hiroshi] Kiyotake, [Salvatore] Sirigu and [Juan] Munoz all departing, while [Clement] Lenglet, [Stevan] Jovetic and [Walter] Montoya came in and [Steven] N'Zonzi also renewed," he said."So on the whole, I'm very pleased. We are satisfied and we managed to do the business that the coach asked of us."
He specified that Montoya will not play in the Champions League matches.
"During this window we were only permitted to register three new players and those will be Soria, Lenglet and Jovetic so Walter will be left out," he said. "The rules permit three changes and all the transfers we have made were done with that in mind. The coach made the decision at the end of the day. We are very competitive in La Liga and Walter will be instrumental for us there."
Montoya on Wednesday said that he hopes to bolster their midfield.
"I am coming to play on one of Europe's greatest clubs so I have my mind set," Montoya said. "My short-term goal is to become part of the team and fight for a spot on the squad. I am quick and I like to play up front."