Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew said captain Kevin Nolan left St James’ Park because the club would not give him a five-year deal.
The 29-year-old shocked the Newcastle faithful by making a four-million-pound move to newly relegated West Ham last month, rejoining former manager Sam Allardyce.
Pardew said Newcastle wanted to keep Nolan, who was the club’s top scorer with 12 goals last term, but were not prepared to give him the long-term deal he wanted.
“Kevin didn’t want to stay, that’s the end of the debate. Kevin couldn’t get a contract for four or five years,” Pardew told BBC Radio Newcastle.
“My opinion is that we couldn’t give Kevin a five-year contract because if Kevin isn’t playing first-team football, he isn’t going to be the leader that we want, I am convinced of that.”
“Kevin is so full-on as the captain of a football club and at the level he has gone to now, he will easily cope with that and he will come back to the Premier League.”
“But in four or five years’ time, Kevin needs to be doing the business in the first team, and we couldn’t and I couldn’t see that possibly happening here at Newcastle, and we had to make a decision on that.”
Pardew has a new headache to deal with, needing to decide the fate of his three goalkeepers – veteran Steve Harper, Netherlands international Tim Krul and returning Celtic loanee Fraser Forster.
All three are vying for the number one spot, and Pardew admits it is likely that one of the three will be playing elsewhere come the start of the season.
Asked if he would keep all three, Pardew said: “Probably not, actually, and that’s a situation we have to be very careful of.”
“They have all got a genuine, genuine chance to be number one, so when you suddenly become number three, that’s a major issue and that will be a major issue for one of them.”
“That’s something we will have to deal with. In my mind – and hand on heart, I can say this – I haven’t really got focused on one particularly goalie.”
“It’s a great situation for me, but I do need to make a call and I will genuinely, genuinely take all into account – Harps’ history, Harps’ experience against Tim’s inexperience, but natural God-given talent, as with Fraser.”