Orient manager Russell Slade insists the club were left with little choice in selling Moses Odubajo after the winger decided he wanted to move on.
Odubajo completed a move to Brentford for a record equalling transfer fee last Friday. With only one year left on his contract and Odubajo determined to play in the Championship, the O’s agreed to sell the 20-year-old.
Slade said: “Moses wanted to go and play at a higher level. He was in the last year of his contract and there wasn’t much we could do about it. He had a terrific season and was a key player for us but that’s part and parcel of football. It doesn’t matter what team you are, even clubs like Manchester United have to rebuild.
“It’s never easy to know if we got the right money but all we can do is protect ourselves in the deal and wish him well.”
Odubajo attracted interest from several Championship clubs but agreed to join the Bees who provided the only serious offer for the winger.
The deal matches the fee received for Gabriel Zakuani in 2006 when he moved to Fulham and although undisclosed, is understood to be in excess of £1m.
Odubajo’s performances for Orient last season helped them finish third in League 1. The winger netted 12 goals, including a spectacular strike at Wembley in their defeat to Rotherham United, during 57 appearances in the campaign.
He made 116 appearances for the O’s after making his debut for the club in 2011 against Dagenham & Redbridge in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Odubajo tweeted: “I would like to thank Leyton Orient Fc for the time I spent at the club. The fans were amazing, the staff and the players were second to none.”
Chairman Barry Hearn underlined the money from this deal will go back into the club and towards the playing budget.
Hearn said: “We sold Moses for a club record and that money goes back to the football club and doesn’t go to me. We had several bids but the Brentford one was by far the biggest offer. This is business and Moses wanted to go.”
Slade has set his sights on replacing Odubajo and is planning to hold talks with a midfielder and a striker today. But the O’s boss admits the potential takeover of the club is a distraction and is likely to determine his budget on transfers this summer.
“At this moment in time the club is going through a process,” Slade said. “I’m going to see two players on Thursday as we look to rebuild and be a force again next season.
“I met the prospective owner in a brief meeting and one or two of the Italian delegates. We will just have to wait and see because it has to be ratified and it could be a long process. Nothing is complete and it remains to be seen what the outcome is.
“It is slightly unsettling for everybody at the club but these things happen. It doesn’t change our approach to pre-season. The only thing it could possibly change is where we shop for players and whether it is Primark or Harrods.”
The only signing Orient have made this summer has been the arrival of goalkeeper Adam Legzdins from Derby County. He was brought in to replace Jamie Jones following his decision to join Preston North End and Slade believes he will be a strong addition to the side.
The manager said: “Jamie was offered a new contract but he got a good deal from Preston and geographically it is a decent move for him because he’s from the north.
“We’ve kept our eye on Adam and we know a bit about him because we tried to bring him in last season on loan. They wanted to keep him at Derby but he wanted to be released so he can play first-team football. He will be a good acquisition.”