Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs says it was impossible to hold on to Kevin De Bruyne after Manchester City offered the Belgian four times the salary he earned at the Bundesliga club.
Last season’s DFB-Pokal winners were desperate to keep the 24-year-old in the transfer window, but eventually allowed him to move on after all when City met their asking price of around £55 million.
And Allofs told Die Welt: “We spent a long time weighing up all our options and trying to keep Kevin at Wolfsburg.
“But at some point, we reached the conclusion that it would be best to allow him to move.
“When a player has an offer from another team where can make four times as much money, you have to take into account what such an offer does to a player.
“Kevin received an offer that could very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is no guarantee that he would ever get such a offer again.
“We have certain limits that teams like Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona or Bayern Munich do not have. It is totally unrealistic to claim that nobody can lure players away from us.”
De Bruyne has netted twice in three Premier League appearances since his move to the Etihad Stadium from the Bundesliga.