West Ham manager Sam Allardyce says he regularly rues missing out on the chance to sign Robert Lewandowski when he was in charge at Blackburn.

Allardyce blamed the Volcanic ash cloud, as well as club financial worries, for scuppering the potential deal with Lech Poznan at Ewood Park.

“I think about it every time I see him play,” said Allardyce, who was sacked as Blackburn manager in December 2010.

Borussia Dortmund’s Polish striker, 24, could join Bayern Munich in the summer.

Allardyce’s admission comes after the Dortmund star scored all four goals in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.

“My distant memory isn’t that great, but I think John Williams [former Rovers chairman] and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money,” said Allardyce.

“I think they wanted three or four million euros, but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn.

“I watched him play, but I didn’t get the chance to meet him.

“I think his agent said he couldn’t come over because of the ash cloud.”

All flights in and out of the UK and several other European countries were suspended as ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland sparked fears of engine damage in April 2010.

Lewandowski eventually signed for Borussia Dortmund in June 2010 and has gone on to score 74 goals in three seasons in Germany, including 10 in this season’s Champions League.

“He’s probably worth 40 million euros now,” said Allardyce, who instead bought Croatian Nikola Kalinic for around £6m.

“There were a lot of people looking at him at that time as well, but we had the edge over everyone else because of the attraction of the Premier League.

“He could have used us as a stepping stone but it didn’t happen.”