Rhys Healey has joined French Ligue 2 side Toulouse FC for an undisclosed fee, MK Dons can confirm.
Healey, who moved to Stadium MK on a permanent deal in July 2019, travelled to France on Wednesday to complete his transfer to the three-time Ligue 2 champions.
“We’re disappointed to lose Rhys,” Martin told mkdons.com. “He was obviously a huge player for us in the months leading up to the lockdown, so I understand the frustration this news will bring – we feel it too.
“We didn’t have to sell Rhys in this window and we certainly didn’t want to either, but the interest from Toulouse intensified over the last few weeks to the point where he expressed that he saw his future in the south of France. We then worked hard, as a Club and with the player, to get the right deal and one that was much improved on their initial offer.
“Rhys is an ambitious young man and I'm sure he won't mind me saying that this is a life-changing move for him. As a Club, we want to do right by our players, and he certainly leaves on positive terms and with all our very best wishes.”
Martin added: “What we’re building isn’t about one player, it’s about an ethos that runs through the squad. This presents a new challenge for us but part of our thorough recruitment process is succession planning and that’s what we’re focused on now.
“It’s up to us, over the next few weeks, to make sure we continue building a squad that the fans will enjoy watching here at Stadium MK. We are relishing that challenge and are looking forward to the start of the season.”
Russell Martin will be speaking to iFollow MK Dons on Friday morning, to reflect further on this evening's announcment.