Coleraine manager Oran Kearney has highlighted the “bigger picture” and need to “protect the club financially” following Jamie McGonigle’s exit to Crusaders.
The 23-year-old forward has left The Showgrounds for an undisclosed fee, drawing to an end Crusaders’ lengthy pursuit of McGonigle.
“After the initial bid from Crusaders last month, we tried to speak to Jamie and convince him to stay at the club like we would with any other player with a year left to run on his contract,” Kearney told the club’s official website. “Despite pushing hard, Jamie told us he didn’t want to enter negotiations immediately and that he would maybe speak to us around Christmas time.
“The problem with that is not only would Jamie speak to us at Christmas, but there would be other teams involved and we wouldn’t want to enter a bidding war.
“It’s also important that we protect the club financially and look at the bigger picture as it would be difficult for all parties if Jamie signed a pre-contract agreement with another club in January.
“I have learned from past experiences that keeping a player against his will is a detriment to both parties.
“Jamie is a top person and player and I’ve always had a close relationship with him and his father.
“I am privileged to have worked with him and play a part in his development and I wish him all the best in the future.”