Neil Warnock has admitted his side were priced out of a deal for their top transfer target Jefferson Lerma.
The Bluebirds had been chasing the midfielder ahead of their return to England's top flight, however the Colombian instead secured a deadline day move to Premier League rivals Bournemouth from Levante for a club record fee of £25m.
Quoted by BBC Sport ahead of Cardiff's opening day clash with Lerma's new club Bournemouth, Warnock admitted his side were priced out of a deal and that they were dealt a harsh reality check prior to their season getting underway. He said: "Our number one target in midfield was the lad Bournemouth signed, Lerma.
"We thought it'd be about five or six million, and I think they paid about £27m. We had a rude awakening early doors. We were quite a long way away from the top targets so we had to be realistic really."
Despite missing out on Lerma, Cardiff were able to bring in six players over the summer which included a deadline day deal for Harry Arter - whose chances of starting for Eddie Howe's side slumped after the arrival of Lerma.
The Bournemouth midfielder will spend the entire 2018/19 season on loan at the Cardiff City Stadium, although will be ineligible for their clash with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium this weekend due to the terms of his loan deal.
However a positive for Cardiff fans is that all five of Warnock's other signings are set to feature in the Bluebirds' opening game of the season and the club gear up for their first season back in the Premier League since 2014.