Peterborough United owner Darragh MacAnthony has confirmed Hartlepool United were in talks to bring Luke James back for a third spell.
But MacAnthony has revealed a deal couldn't be agreed and the clubs have since moved on.
James left Pools for Posh in September 2014, having scored 22 goals in 99 appearances for the League Two side but he failed to make an impact at London Road, scoring just twice in 34 games.
The 21-year-old also had a spell on loan at Bradford City before Pools re-signed the forward on loan in February, with James playing a key part as Pools pulled away from the relegation zone.
MacAnthony has confirmed Pools were keen to bring James back for a third spell but discussions with Barry Fry, Peterborough United's director of football, broke down.
In response to a question from a Pools fan, MacAnthony tweeted: "Came close to agreeing that but your owner & Barry couldn't get it done.
"So we move on as is football."
MacAnthony had previously reassured Posh fans that James still had a long-term future at the club and was confident he could still prove to be a success at London Road.
James, deployed out wide for much of his second spell, scored one goal in 20 appearances for Pools under Ronnie Moore and then Craig Hignett, impressing with his pace and workrate.
The striker, who played at Pools under former manager Colin Cooper, joined Posh on a four-year deal for a fee of around £500,000 plus add-ons.
His departure from the North East left a sour taste in the mouths of supporters after the striker handed in two transfer requests and then failed to turn up to training at Maiden Castle for three consecutive days before the summer-long saga finally came to an end on a dramatic deadline day.
But he quickly won over the fans during his second spell with his impressive performances under Hignett, who has added striker Padraig Amond and midfielder Nicky Deverdics to his attacking options ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.