Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate insists the sale of Lee Cattermole to Wigan made 'good business sense'.
The midfielder's departure in 2008 has been identified by some as a major factor in Boro's relegation from the Premier League last season.
But Southgate is adamant that he could not turn down a £3.5million fee for Cattermole, who has since followed former Latics boss Steve Bruce to Sunderland.
"Hindsight shows that Lee would have played a lot more football than was anticipated because of all the injuries we suffered," Southgate told the Evening Gazette:
"There is no question he had a very good season at Wigan, but sometimes a player makes that kind of progress when he moves clubs.
"Lee had decided he wanted to move away from the area. We were not looking to sell, but Lee had been pushing for it for some time when we got the fee then it made good business sense at the time.
"Of course, things look different after the event, but one player doesn't keep you in the Premier division, or any division."