Lorient president Loic Fery has revealed the French club rejected three offers from Sunderland for Didier Ndong – before finally accepting a fourth bid hours before the transfer deadline.
The midfielder moved to the Stadium of Light on the final day of the transfer window for an initial fee of £13.6m, although that may rise with bonuses.
Howeve, Lorient’s president, Fery, has now revealed that he fought tooth and nail to keep the 22-year-old at the club.
“We rejected offers three times for the departure of Didier Ndong. €12m, €14m and then €16m,” Fery told Ouest France.
“But when the final offer, €20m, and without doubt a little more with the bonuses, came in, his departure was unavoidable for various reasons.
“For one, because of the offer, which represented 50% of Lorient’s budget, but also because the player was able to multiply his salary by 10 or 12.
“The reality is that there is not a single player who is untransferable, even on the final day of the transfer window and we cannot control everything.
“I am not going to deny that from a football point of view, Didier’s departure is a loss, but we could not do things any other way.
“We took a rational decision that I take responsibility for. Of course, we can regret the timing.”