Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce has revealed the difficult decision to let Stephen Clemence leave St Andrew's will release further funds to strengthen his squad.
Bruce sanctioned the sale of his former skipper to Championship club Leicester City in a £1million deal on Thursday evening.
Clemence had been with the Blues for four-and-a-half years, but Bruce felt the time was right to allow the 29-year-old to move on as he couldn't guarantee him regular first-team action in the Premier League.
"It was a tough one for me," he told the club's official website.
"He was player of the year last year but the one thing he wants to do is play and I can't guarantee he'll be my number one choice so I have been fair to him.
"I will never get a better pro or meet a nicer person than Clem.
"Leicester will give him three years and I'm not going to deny him that.
"It will also release funds to allow me to bring in somebody else - from day one I've always tried to balance the books."
Bruce has already signed seven new players since promotion back to the Premier League was confirmed in May.
Fabrice Muamba, Stuart Parnaby, Garry O'Connor, Olivier Kapo, Daniel de Ridder, Richard Kingson and Rafael Schmitz have all arrived at St Andrew's during a busy summer.