Marseille coach Didier Deschamps has conceded that Lucho Gonzalez's cut-price return to FC Porto was an economic choice, rather than a sporting decision.
The 31-year-old central midfielder is poised to rejoin Porto for a fee of around €2million, despite having cost OM a club-record initial fee of €18million when he first arrived from the Portuguese side in 2009.
"Economic logic always prevails over sporting logic," said Deschamps, who has regularly been frustrated by financial constraints in his attempts to improve his squad.
Deschamps said that Lucho's departure was the result of "the player's desire to return to Porto for family reasons" and the club's need to "reduce the wage bill".
With Ayew brothers Andre and Jordan both currently at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana, Deschamps said they could not afford to shed any more players. "We could sell ten players, then what would we do? Set up a pizzeria?" he joked.
Club captain Steve Mandanda, meanwhile, said he was "disappointed" by Lucho's departure. "He was a great player and a great man," said the France international goalkeeper. "We'll miss him. It's a big loss."