The Norwegian was looking to strengthen the central defensive area of the team, and enquired at Manchester City regarding the 24-year-old, with Boyata having earned just four games all season in the 2013-14 campaign.
But with Manchester City short of homegrown players, they kept the defender at the Etihad, instead loaning out Jason Denayer to the Bhoys.
“I’ve known about for him for one year," Deila said according to the Record.
“We got Jason, we weren’t allowed to get Boyata then – now their roles have been changed.
“That’s not to say Boyata was first choice – that’s hard to say because at the time they wanted to keep him and Jason was a possibility."
Deila couldn't have predicted just how impressive Boyata's compatriot Denayer would be in Glasgow, playing 44 matches and winning the Scottish Young Player of the Year.
Now the former Stromsgodset boss is expecting the ex Bolton loanee to go a similar way, having joined after he saw how well Denayer performed with regular football at Celtic.
“Jason then hadn’t played an important match in his life – now it’s quite different," he added.
“But that’s also one of the reasons Dedryck wanted to come here because he saw what happened with Jason."
Can Boyata match Denayer's season?
Having stayed at City after Celtic's enquiry, Boyata again managed a disappointing five matches, meaning in the last two years of football he has played less than ten first team matches.
The Bhoys should then be getting a massively hungry player eager to make up for lost time in his early 20s. There was no doubt about Boyata's ability earlier in his career, having first appeared for the club five and a half years ago at the age of 19, and he remains a player who has plenty of potential ahead of him.
Though lacking the impressive pace of Denayer, he is a more powerful defender, and should be eager to put some roots down at a place where he has seen a similar individual break into the international side.