Lorient president Loic Fery says he rejected three bids of £10m-£13m from Sunderland for Didier Ndong before agreeing to the £16m deal.
The Black Cats eventually got their man on transfer deadline day when the 22-year-old midfielder was confirmed as David Moyes’ biggest signing of the summer transfer window.
And Fery has revealed how persistent Sunderland were in their pursuit of the Gabon international.
He told Ouest France: “The deal did not happen overnight. Three times we refused the departure of Ndong for 12m, 14m and 16m euros.
“But when the last offer, twenty million, and probably a little more with add-ons, arrived, his departure became inevitable.”
Fery explained how much the fee that Lorient will receive for Ndong represents in terms of the club’s annual budget.
“On the one hand, because there was this offer, which represents 50 per cent of the budget of the FCL, but also because the player could increase his salary by ten or twelve times (over the five-year contract),” he added.
And the Lorient president also stressed the human elements behind the club’s decision to part with their best player at a time when they have lost their first three matches of the Ligue 1 campaign.
“We do not play football manager,” added Fery. “Behind this transfer, there is a man, a team, a club.
“Keep Didier Ndong against his will and him not being able to play? It was not a situation where we wanted to be.
“Didier Ndong has not been sold by FC Lorient, he was bought by Sunderland!”