Everton turned down the chance to sign Moussa Sissoko from Newcastle United because majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri wanted to remain loyal to James McCarthy.
Sissoko looked on the verge of signing for Everton late on Wednesday but the Toffees withdrew their bid, and the France international agreed a five-year deal with Tottenham.
However, rather than pulling the plug on their offer due to Spurs' late interest in the midfielder, Moshiri claims the decision was made out of loyalty to McCarthy.
The arrival of Sissoko could have put the Republic of Ireland midfielder's place under threat in Ronald Koeman's side, something Moshiri was not prepared to do.
"Sissoko is a great player," Moshiri said in a widely reported statement. "But when I bought into Everton I made it clear I was proud to join a family.
"And we don't turn our backs on our own.
"Keeping James McCarthy was a priority and ultimately we could not proceed with a deal that would jeopardise his place at Everton. We wish Sissoko the best."
Although Sissoko did not sign on at Goodison Park there was one new arrival before the deadline, with Enner Valencia moving on loan from West Ham.