Economics dictated Sheffield United had no choice but to offload Darius Henderson.
The big targetman had one year remaining on his contract at Bramall Lane and had stated his desire to stay at the club despite their relegation from the Championship.
But cutbacks have to be made to balance the books at United as aim to adapt to their new surroundings in the third tier of English football.
Hull City had been interested in Henderson, who earned around £15,000 a week at United, but it was Millwall who swooped for the 29-year-old on Wednesday, recruiting the striker for an undisclosed transfer fee.
His departure is expected to save around £1 million in wages and Danny Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, admits it was “inevitable” Henderson would move on for pastures new this summer.
“It was inevitable and, if I’m honest, I never expected to have him (Darius) in the team at the beginning of the season,” he told The Star. “Your better players will always be sought after and, because of the position Darius plays, those type of players are at a premium and other clubs will always be looking at them.”
Injuries and suspension blighted Henderson’s three year career with United, restricting him to just 68 starts. He described his final year at the club as the “worst” of his career. But, having agreed a two-year deal with the Lions, Henderson is excited about the future in the capital.
The striker, who cost the Blades £2m from Watford, said: “If I play well, score some goals, hopefully the fans will appreciate that. If I do that, it will hopefully improve the team and we can fight for promotion.”
Along with long-serving defender Chris Morgan, Henderson was sorely missed by United last term. A long-standing hip problem meant he featured in just eight matches and he was sent off in his comeback match at Watford.
He was jeered by the fans after missing a series of gilt-edged opportunities at home to Middlesbrough in April but he hit back by scoring a superb brace in the come-from-behind victory at Reading later that month.
On his Twitter account, Henderson has paid tribute to the club and wished “them all the best for the future”.
Wilson added: “Following relegation we are aware that some players will want to move and Darius, who is in his late 20s, feels at this moment in time that it is very important to be playing in the Championship. Obviously we think Millwall have got a great deal.”