Martin Donnelly says he’s “disappointed” to be placed on the transfer list at Crusaders and he insists he isn’t “money-motivated”.
The Northern Ireland international is expected to leave Seaview in the current transfer window after opting not to put pen to paper in a new deal.
Donnelly wanted to wait until the summer before considering his future but Crusaders fear their star winger will leave for nothing.
Crues boss Stephen Baxter confirmed on Monday night after his side defeated Glenavon 1-0 on Sky Sports that Donnelly had turned down a new contract offer and was now on the transfer list.
And a club statement read: “Crusaders Football Club have reluctantly placed midfielder Martin Donnelly on the transfer list.
“The club offered Martin a new contract that would have made him the highest earner at the club within the budget they have to work on and he has sadly turned down those terms.”
Donnelly has rejected the view that money is the reason why he has not put pen to paper.
“I’ve been reading in the papers that I have been asking for money and people are getting the impression that I am being greedy but that is not right,” said the 23-year-old.
“I have five months left on my contract and I wanted to leave things until the summer and then look at my situation.
“The club wanted me to sign a new deal now and because I haven’t they have decided to put me on the transfer list.
“There have been no negotiations about money and I have never asked Crusaders for more money — I would never do that, knowing how tight things are financially at the club. I enjoy playing for Crusaders and I love the fans, but people will think money is my only motivation and that’s not true.
“If the club are saying that they can make some money by cashing in on me this month then they are talking about money, not me.”
Donnelly could quit Seaview for nothing at the end of the season, so Baxter knows it would make financial sense for the Crues to strike a deal with rival clubs now.
“There’s no other way we can deal with this matter,” said Baxter. “The chairman Stephen Bell and the board have made the decision that Martin can go on the transfer list as now is the time to sell him.
“It’s a huge regret from me but we need everyone singing from the same hymn sheet and fighting for the cause as Martin has done.
“As things stand, we don’t have the finances to keep Martin.”