Alan Pardew, the Newcastle United manager, is adamant that Andy Carroll was not forced to leave the club for Liverpool and that he only did so after seeing his demands for a new deal fall through.
The England striker's £35 million-plus (Dh206m) transfer to the Anfield club late last night was one of the shocks of Monday's deadline day, with Pardew having previously stated on more than one occasion that Carroll would be going nowhere.
Pardew has today claimed that Carroll asked Newcastle for a new deal, despite only signing one in October, and asked to leave once that request was turned down.
The manager's response is contradictory to Carroll's stance, with the player having sent a text message to a Newcastle fanzine editor claiming he had been forced out.
Pardew, though, insists that was not the case, and has implied that he felt money had turned his former striker's head.
Talking to the Shields Gazette, Pardew said: "We didn't force anybody to leave.
"I disagree with that point. He had a contract here for five years, and at some point it would get renewed, but for him to sign in October and it get renewed in January - where would it stop?
"Personally, I'm disappointed. He's a lovely lad, and I really like him, but it was his decision, and you can't change that.
"Was this about football? That's what you have to ask. I don't think it was."
Newcastle rejected Liverpool's initial approach for Carroll but, after receiving a second, accepted it when, according to Pardew, the player demanded to leave if he was not given a new deal, despite him only signing one at the end of last year.
Pardew added: "We turned down a big offer, and they came back with a second big offer.
"We were having a discussion about what we were going to do with that offer when Andy requested to see me.
"I went to see Andy, and face to face we had a conversation about him wanting a new contract, even though he signed on in October, and [he said] if he didn't get that contract, he wanted to go.
"I asked him what he wanted, and I went to the board. We had a discussion about what the ramifications would be for the whole club.
"We took the view, with him signing a contract in October, that this would cause us all sorts of problems.
"We decided that we needed the conversation confirmed, and he put in a transfer request, which he did.
"He spoke to his agent, and between them they put the request in. We decided with the size of the offer, and what it meant to us, that we would accept.
"But no club is about one player. We're absolutely gutted that he's gone. It's disappointing, but we're not in a financial position like Liverpool."