The Lancashire Telegraph says Rovers are claiming their attempts to raise the fee were successful and point to the 'potential club record fee' as evidence they got nearer their valuation of the player.
Manager Steve Kean said: "I sat down with Phil last week and we had offered him the biggest deal in Blackburn history.
"It quickly became apparent it was not about money and that was understandable to a certain extent.
"Phil wanted to play Champions League football and he wanted that now.
"We are not at that level yet, although I'm sure we will be in the coming years.
"We gave it a real good fight, a fantastic offer but I understand why he wants to go now.
"With all the bits and pieces, obviously contracts are very, very complicated, but with the games he will play and different bits and bobs it will go above £20million, so it is a very, very good fee.
"That never detracted from the fact the owners wanted to keep him.
"I am sure Phil and his representative will verify this but the offer we made him was staggering for a 19-year-old.
"That is what we thought of him.
"It was not about the money, though. Maybe in the future he will come back but he goes with our blessing."