Gary Rowett says Birmingham turned down the chance to sign Victor Lindelof from Benfica because he was not “tough enough”.
The 23-year-old Sweden international signed for Manchester United in the summer for £39.5m from Benfica, but Rowett says he had the opportunity to sign the centre-back “two or three years ago” but declined the chance.
Rowett revealed Blues ran the rule over Lindelof, after being offered the player by an agent, but decided he wasn’t up to the rigours of life in the Championship.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Rowett said: “About two or three years ago when we first went into Birmingham an agent called us and said we are trying to get some of our younger players out to expose them to different levels.
“We had a look at him (Lindelof) and put it to some of the staff, but it was ironic because they felt he wasn’t probably quite tough enough.
“Then suddenly he’s been touted around at £20m or £30m. So I think we made a mistake.
“To be fair he got straight back in the Benfica side very quickly and of course went from strength to strength.”
Lindelof featured for the full 90 minutes in last night’s 4-1 win over Burton, but he has failed to make the bench in three of United’s opening four Premier League games.