West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce admits Barcelona whizkid Gerard Deulofeu was on his way to them before Everton's intervention.

Allardyce wrote in the London Evening Standard: "Unlike last season, as co-chairman David Gold pointed out at the fans' forum earlier this week, we have to try to make an early signing and the player has to be ready to go straight in.

"The problem is, however, that there are fewer really good players available, than ever before. A few seasons ago you could go to AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona and they would happily give you a top-class player who hadn't figured in their team.

"None of those clubs do that now because of the financial situation. They don't have 35 senior pros on their books anymore, so now they offer you their younger players.

"Look, for example, how patient Everton have been with Gerard Deulofeu. He was, in fact, due to come to us on loan from Barcelona but because of Roberto Martinez's Spanish connections, he chose Everton. They, in turn, have been careful with him and only now is he making a few headlines."

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