Sebastien Puygrenier has revealed the decision-making process behind his switch to Zenit St Petersburg.
The defender had been on the verge of completing a move from Nancy to St Etienne, only to have a late change of heart.
He had already agreed terms on a deal to keep him in France, but was then offered a more lucrative contract by the Russian outfit.
He admits that financial issues were the key factor in his decision to accept the Zenit approach, but revealed his anguish at having to break the news to St Etienne.
"When I came back from Russia, Zenit wanted a quick answer," the 26-year-old told L'Equipe.
"But it is a tough decision as I have to take into account my family.
"The talks with St Etienne were much easier and I agreed terms with them three weeks ago. The two clubs then reached a financial agreement.
"I then thought about the Zenit proposition, with the opportunity to play with an ambitious club and great players.
"Of course the financial aspect was important. The offer was huge. I am almost 27-years-old and it was impossible to refuse.
"I called St Etienne chairman Bernard Caiazzo and apologised. I was very sorry."
While Puygrenier has benefited financially by opting for the Uefa Cup holders, Nancy are also set to bank an extra 1million euros (£790,000) from the deal as Zenit's offer topped that of their Ligue 1 rivals.
"To him Zenit represents a great opportunity, one where he can play in the Champions League," said club chairman Jacques Rousselot.
"I have always said that I will back the decision of the player. I was happy with the talks we held with St Etienne, which would have brought us 5million euros (£3.9m), but I was not fully satisfied.
"The Zenit offer was superior and I am happy for us and for Sebastien."