While FC Union Berlin President Dirk Zingler and club sporting director Oliver Ruhnert reacted with spite-tinged surprise at Max Kruse's shock move to VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday, the veteran striker himself addressed die Eisernen faithful directly.
It still comes as quite the surprise. In the coming days, devotees of Berlin's Köpenick club will certainly ask the question of both Kruse and club management: Why wasn't an extension signed before such a potentially predictable outcome came to pass?
Union are now without their leading goal scorer and the focal point of their attack. A replacement must be procured promptly. Both club president Dirk Zingler and FCU sporting director Oliver Runhert conceded that the departure was a big hit.
"His departure hits us unexpectedly," Ruhnert noted, "It will be a challenge to compensate for this in sporting terms."
"If he deliberately decides against the chance to make history with Union this season, we have to accept that," Zingler added in his usual acerbic tone, "Rather than forcing him to stay here against his will, we would a way to get compensated properly for the sporting loss."
Kruse's transfer fee is a reported €5 million, according to transfermarkt. As for the player's new contract, Kruse spelled it out for everyone why he opted to make this move. Faced with an expiring contract at the end of the season, the veteran did what he needed to in order to secure his financial future through the end of next year.
"I ask for your understanding in my decision to accept an offer that is both long-term and lucrative," Kruse said in a released statement to the Union fans, "No decision is easy and I know what's coming my way now--but it is my decision. I'll continue to keep my fingers crossed for all the Union players and hope that they'll finish the season successfully."