Cagliari have admitted that they were surprised when Palermo accepted their bid for Mauricio Pinilla in January.
The Chilean striker joined the Rossoblu on loan last month and scored against his parent club at the weekend in the 2-1 win.
“It was my sporting director who asked me to make a bid for Pinilla,” Cagliari chief Massimo Cellino told the Corriere dello Sport.
“I told him that [Palermo President] Maurizio [Zamparini] would send me to hell if I asked for the striker.
“However, I picked up the phone and, instead of insulting me, he gave me the player by asking for a reasonable fee too.
“Zamparini explained to me that the boy needed a change of air and that he would be happy to give him to me, a friend.
“I thanked Zamparini at the time and I did so again the other day. It was a nice gesture from him.”
The South American, 27, has now scored twice in four Serie A games for his new club. Cagliari have the right to sign him outright in the summer.