Burnley manager Sean Dyche says the Clarets could not match Andre Gray's wage demands before the striker's move to Watford.
After joining the club in 2015, Gray scored 33 goals in 78 appearances for Burnley, helping Dyche's side achieve promotion before managing nine Premier League strikes during his debut Premier League campaign.
“Whichever way you look at it, players still need to earn money and get offered good contracts,” Dyche said, as quoted by the Lancashire Telegraph.
“We couldn’t get to a level which was enough. They (Watford) made it very clear they wanted the player, through finance, I think the player’s life is heading in that direction, down south. That’s only an add on, not why he moved.
“It’s football, life, finance, age. He’s had a massive journey from six or seven years ago, almost beyond his wildest dreams.
“I never forget what people have done for me and the club, and he’s certainly done his fair share, same as Michael Keane, David Jones, George Boyd, many players.”
Dyche also admitted he is unsure just how much the club can afford to pay their first-team stars, with Gray's move to Watford coming after failed contract negotiations.
He added: “That’s a club that were willing to go to those numbers to get him and then pay that contract over five years.
“This club at this money are not willing to do that. The way we work here, the good side of it, is that the group of players who are the main players are very close in contractual terms. When do you break that open?
“When that happens the others will want to go higher as well. It’s not shifting one, it’s shifting the whole lot. When do you break through and have the financial and mental capacity to push it up there?
“You have to be ready for that or else we’ve seen the chaos that can come after it. It sounds like you’re crying it in but it’s tough.”