Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Yohan Cabaye was "desperate" to leave Newcastle, Director of Football Joe Kinnear has claimed.
The midfielder joined PSG in the January transfer window for a fee reported to be in the region of £19 million.
Writing in the programme notes ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby, Kinnear said: "Of course it is disappointing that Yohan Cabaye has moved on after two and a half seasons at St James' Park.
"We didn't want to sell him, make no bones about that, but Yohan made it very clear to us that the opportunity of playing Champions League football and being part of the sporting project at PSG was something he wanted."
The decision to sell the Frenchman has sparked anger amongst Toon fans, who feel the fee received was well below the market value of the player.
Kinnear defended the sale, and he said: "We felt that if we received an acceptable bid for him, then it was the right decision for the club to do business."
He added: "Yohan benefitted hugely from his time with us. He flourished as a player and his move to PSG comes as a result of the performances he put in during his time at the club.
"But for us, now is the time to look forward, not back. We have a number of highly talented midfielders within our ranks."
Chairman Mike Ashley has also come under criticism after the club failed to spend the money made from the Cabaye deal.
They missed out on top target Clement Grenier from Lyon and other players, such as West Ham's Mark Noble, were touted as potential signings but in the end there were no new arrivals at St James' Park.