Sunderland captain Lorik Cana has made a surprise switch to Turkish side Galatasaray.
The 26-year-old midfielder only moved to the Stadium of Light last summer and had a good season under Steve Bruce, but he leaves the club for a fee in excess of 6million euros (£5m).
Cana made 31 appearances in the Premier League for the Black Cats last term and quickly became an important part of the side after his £5million move from Marseille.
The Albania international will be playing UEFA Champions League football with Galatasaray, but says his decision to leave was a difficult one.
"The people here love their club, they have passion and a proper identity," he told Sunderland's official website.
"I gave my all for the club and it will always be in my memory. I have been offered the opportunity to play in European competition and the Champions League, and especially to be closer to my family - this was not an easy decision for me though and I hope people understand.
"I thank everyone at Sunderland - the coaching staff, medical team, office staff, my team-mates and of course the fans.
"I wish the club to achieve everything it deserves and to continue moving higher and higher."
Manager Steve Bruce must now decide who will get the captain's armband, with Lee Cattermole and Michael Turner possible names in the frame.
Bruce was disappointed to see Cana go, but revealed the Albanian had a desire to return to Europe.
He said: "Lorik's style of play and attitude made him a natural choice as captain last season, but when he came back for pre-season training, it was apparent that he had a desire to return to Europe.
"Turkey is nearer to Albania, where his family and roots are, and it is much easier for him to see them on a more regular basis.
"We thank Lorik for his time here and wish him all the best for the future."