Crawley have missed out on bringing striker Matt Tubbs back to the club for a third spell.
Reds agreed a deal with Bournemouth to sign Tubbs on loan a month ago but the 29-year-old has decided to join League Two outfit AFC Wimbledon instead.
Boss John Gregory had been keen to bring Tubbs back to the Checkatrade.com Stadium after he scored eight goals in 18 matches on loan at the end of last season.
Chief executive Michael Dunford had been in constant contact with the Cherries over the deal since the end of the season and admitted he was “surprised” Tubbs had snubbed Reds to link up with former Crawley team-mate Dannie Bulman in a lower division.
Gregory said: “We tried very hard to get Matt back so it is very disappointing he has chosen to go to Wimbledon instead.
“We pushed the boat out financially and waited quite a long time for him to make a decision but in the end it is up to him where he goes.
“It is a shame because I love Matt as a player and a person. He is a legend at Crawley and it would have been great to bring him back but it wasn’t to be.
“We’ve still got a few other irons in the fire in terms of strikers and I’m hoping that within the next week or so we might be able to complete one or two deals.”
Meanwhile, Gregory has reiterated his desire to hold on to midfielder Andy Drury following an “insulting” offer from Luton Town.
Drury has a year left on the two-year deal he signed last summer but does have a clause in his contract which means he can leave if another club offers a “six-figure” sum.
Gregory added: “Luton’s offer was nowhere near the figure we value a player like Andy at so we turned it down without giving it a thought. There is a clause in Andy’s contract which means we have to allow him to speak to another club if they offer a certain amount but it wasn’t even close.
“I don’t want Andy to go anyway because he is very much in my plans for next season. I rate him exceptionally highly and I think he is going to have a big season this year.”