Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas claims manager Bruno Genesio and his backroom staff took the decision to sign Jean-Philippe Mateta ahead of Emmanuel Adebayor.
Free agent Adebayor was expected to join the Ligue 1 club last week only for the deal to fall through, Lyon citing concerns over the 32-year-old's lack of availability during the Africa Cup of Nations and his ineligibility for the Champions League group stage, prompting an angry rebuke from the ex-Arsenal player.
Teenage forward Mateta has instead been recruited from Chateauroux, with Aulas hinting the acquisition of the 19-year-old on a five-year deal is likely to prove better business than handing a short-term contract to Adebayor.
"Actually we had, after the injury to [Alexandre] Lacazette, identified a number of players," he told Canal+.
"Two players were approached. For Mateta there was [interest from] Juventus and other French clubs. Emmanuel Adebayor had agreed to come two days late. You could make a transfer on one hand and a big payday on the other.
"Bruno and his staff made the decision. We had released the funds. As always, it is the technical staff who makes the ultimate decision, we followed that decision."