Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan has revealed that he did his utmost to keep Emanuel Pogatetz.
The uncompromising centre-half officially broke ties with Boro on Tuesday, as his contract was terminated.
Fresh terms were put to the 27-year-old, in an effort to convince him to prolong his five-year association with the club, but he decided the time was right to move on.
He is now set to sign a three-year deal with Bundesliga outfit Hannover, taking him back to Germany where he has previously been on the books of Bayer Leverkusen.
Strachan admits he is disappointed to see Pogatetz depart the Riverside Stadium but accepts the club were unable to match the offer put to him from elsewhere.
"We did our best to keeper Emanuel at Middlesbrough but we cannot realistically compete financially with a Bundesliga club," he said in a statement released by Boro.
"It's disappointing but I respect his decision. He was a great servant to Middlesbrough and a great character who, despite his injury problems, I enjoyed working with last season. We wish him all the best with Hannover."