Doncaster Rovers have missed out on major transfer target Tom Pope after the striker joined newly-promoted Bury.
Rovers boss Paul Dickov confirmed he held talks with the 29-year-old with his contract at Port Vale expiring this summer.
Pope himself confirmed discussions had taken place but that he had also spoken to five other clubs, including Bury.
The former Rotherham United striker yesterday finalised his move to the ambitious Shakers, signing a three-year contract.
Key to Pope’s decision was said to be a desire to remain in his native Stoke-on-Trent with his family, rather than relocating.
But Bury have already shown a willingness to flex financial muscle this summer and were always likely to be a major player in the race for the forward.
David Flitcroft’s side have already signed striker Leon Clarke on a three-year deal after his release by Wolverhampton Wanderers.
And defender Peter Clarke – who was close to joining Rovers last summer – has moved to Gigg Lane on a two-year deal.
Bury’s benefactor, property developer Stewart Day, appears keen for his club to push for back-to-back promotions.
Dickov said of Pope last month: “Tom’s someone we’re interested in. He’s scored 61 goals in the last three seasons and he fits the bill in terms of mentality.
“Since Chris Brown left we’ve missed having a targetman up there and Tom’s the sort of player who gets on the end of things in the box.
“I’ve had a positive conversation with Tom and his representative on the phone but there is a lot of interest from other clubs because of the type of player he is and the number of goals he’s scored.”