Former Everton manager Ronald Koeman says the failure to sign Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud this summer contributed to his sacking.
Koeman was dismissed on Monday with Everton third from bottom in the Premier League.
He claims France international Giroud, 31, was on the verge of agreeing a move to Goodison Park.
“I had Olivier Giroud in the building,” said Koeman. “That was hard to swallow.”
He told Dutch football magazine Voetbal International: “That would have been perfect but he decided he’d rather live in London.
“You tell me where you can get a better striker.”
Everton sold Romelu Lukaku, their leading scorer for the past four seasons, to Manchester United in July in a deal worth an initial £75m.
“Lukaku was important to us, not only because of his goals, but because of his way of playing – strong, quick, direct,” said Koeman.
“There was always the option of the long ball to him. Now we missed such a player, we had Nicola Vlasic and Wayne Rooney, players who want the ball in to feet.”
Everton spent £150m on players over the summer, including midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson for £45m, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for £30m, Michael Keane for £30m and midfielder Davy Klaassen for £24m.
Dutchman Koeman added: “We sold Lukaku for £90m. Our most expensive purchase, the Icelander Gylfi Sigurdsson, cost half.
“It’s a lot of money, but in England you work in a world of different numbers. Players here all cost a lot more than they are actually worth. That’s how the market works.”
David Unsworth (left) shouts instructions from the dug-out as Everton lose to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup
Caretaker manager David Unsworth will meet club owner Farhad Moshiri on Friday, after Everton’s Carabao Cup defeat in his first match in charge.
Unsworth said he was “proud” of Everton’s performance in their 2-1 fourth-round defeat by Chelsea on Wednesday.
The former defender, who also took temporary charge after Roberto Martinez’s departure in 2016, wants the job on a permanent basis.
“What will be will be,” said 44-year-old Unsworth.
“I’m scheduled to meet (Moshiri) on Friday afternoon with the chairman (Bill Kenwright).
“I speak to the chairman two, three, four times a day, so communication is brilliant. I’ve got a great relationship with the board.
“There’s no points return or games total they’ve set. We’ll just continue to work and plan game-to-game.
“We’ll hopefully be as committed as that in every game that I’m in charge. We’ve got to go on a winning streak and very, very quickly.”
Everton, who have not won in six games in all competitions, travel to Leicester in the league on Saturday.