New Stoke City boss Paul Lambert has admitted that Aston Villa couldn't have afforded to keep Marc Albrighton at Villa Park during his time in charge.
The Tamworth-born winger has since gone on to win the Premier League with Leicester City, shocking the whole of England at the end of the 2015/16 season when they pipped the top flight's big six to the title.
His exploits have also seen him feature in the Champions League, and Lambert has also had to admit his surprise at how well the 28-year-old has done since leaving Villa on a free transfer in 2014, having been with the side since the age of eight.
Albrighton has insisted that he was shocked at not being offered a new deal by the club. But speaking via the Leicester Mercury, Lambert has explained that it was simply a matter of not being able to afford the player.
“Believe it or not we couldn’t afford to keep him at Aston Villa," he said.
“He has done great since, he really has. He is a terrific lad, great work ethic and a really nice kid as well. It’s no surprise me how well he has done.
“Did anyone expect them to win the league? Probably not, but fair play to them, and he played his part. You don’t begrudge a player like that, no.
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“He’s a good kid, a nice kid as well and deserves all the credit he got.”
Stoke and Leicester shared the points at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, with Albrighton assisting what was a Jack Butland own goal to get one over his old boss. Yet there's nothing but admiration coming from Lambert's direction.