Hull are this season back in the Premier League under another Geordie, Steve Bruce.
Brown, Hull's manager at the time, told the Daily Star Sunday: "We were in the Premier League and full of ambition under chairman Paul Duffen.
"My chief scout Bob Shaw and assistant-manager Brian Horton went to watch Cavani, who was available at Palermo.
"They recommended him and we offered £2.5m. I remember the negotiations and it was a deal with a number of clauses in the contract.
"When it didn't happen, we switched to Negredo, who at the time was at Real Madrid. That was going to be a loan for the season.
"We were going to pay £12m, plus his wages, then Real were going to buy him back for £13m. But Cavani eventually went to Napoli and Negredo signed for Seville.
"But the important thing was that we were ahead of the game in terms of spotting these players. That's where we were at at Hull City."