Dani Alves could have signed for Liverpool before a deal was called off for financial reasons, former Anfield CEO Rick Parry has told the BBC.
Alves, who is expected to join Manchester City from Juventus over the summer, had been a target for ex-Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez when he was still playing for Sevilla.
But Parry said a move failed to materialise because the club decided to spend the money on two players rather than one.
He told BBC Radio Merseyside: "We had the deal -- finally, after enormous complications -- tied up for Dani Alves and then the decision was should we buy two players or should we spend all of that on a full-back?
"Alves was not the player then that he is now, but he always looked like he would be a great player.
"Would he have been a better signing than [Jermaine] Pennant and [Peter] Crouch, for example? Probably yes, but it's easy with hindsight."
Parry explained that because Liverpool did not have the same clout as a club like Chelsea in the transfer market they had been "trying to be smarter."
He added: "Looking back, if I could do anything different, it would be to focus on buying one [player] at a time rather than having to buy five or six every season."
Juventus this month confirmed that Alves will be released from his contract, clearing the way for City to secure a deal for the former Barcelona defender.
The Brazilian had one more year remaining on a two-year deal with the Italian champions, but Juve chief executive Beppe Marotta said they had agreed to let him go.
Sources have told ESPN FC that City boss Pep Guardiola wants to be reunited with Alves, whom he managed at Barca.