DIRK KUYT says the desire for a “new challenge” was behind his decision to look for an Anfield exit – and not the arrival of Brendan Rodgers as manager.
Kuyt is on the brink of leaving Liverpool after agreeing to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
The 31-year-old has 12 months remaining on his current deal at Liverpool but having slipped down the pecking order, made it clear he was ready to move away from the Reds in search of first-team opportunities.
A clause in the Dutchman’s contract allowed him to talk with other clubs whilst still under contract and though a host of top European sides are said to have been chasing his signature, Fenerbahce have won the race.
Kuyt, who is with the Holland squad preparing for the European Championships, had spoken to Feyenoord about a return but that move failed to get off the ground on account that the Eredivisie side would not be able to afford his wages.
But money appears not to be an issue with Istanbul’s Fenerbahce who have handed Kuyt a three year deal with Liverpool to pocket in excess of £1m for the transfer.
The ECHO understands that the decision to leave Liverpool has been Kuyt’s alone and not at the behest of new boss Rodgers, with the Dutchman exploiting the clause in his contract.
“After six years, I am ready for a new challenge,” Kuyt said.
“(The club and supporters) I will always carry in my heart.
“The appointment of the new coach has nothing to do with it. But when Fenerbahce came to me and made their ambitions known, from the first moment I was sold. They give me the confidence that I lost.”
"It was a very difficult decision," Kuyt said of leaving Liverpool.
"I had six wonderful years at the club and it was a great honour for me to play for Liverpool Football Club, work with the great players and play in front of those wonderful supporters. After six years I have made a decision to go for another experience and that's why I made the choice to go to Fenerbahce.
"It's a great new experience. I had interest from several clubs in Europe and once Fenerbahce came in for me, with the ambition they have as a club, and also by showing how much they wanted me, for me it was an easy decision to make. I'm really looking forward to playing for them."
Kuyt has not been short of well-wishers since the news of his departure broke and he admits he will miss the Liverpool supporters.
"I would say to a big thank you to them," Kuyt said.
"I had six wonderful years at Liverpool and it was a pleasure to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world and the best supporters in the world. Not only me, but also my wife and children will miss the LFC supporters. I'd like to thank everyone for all the support they gave me and I will miss them, but LFC will always be in my heart."
The deal is expected to be finalised in the next few days, though remains subject the completion of paperwork with the double Bank Holiday likely to hold up the transfer.
Kuyt, bought by Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2006 for £9m, ended his trophy drought at Anfield with February’s Carling Cup win over Cardiff City on penalties.
The Dutchman struck in extra-time at Wembley to put Liverpool in the lead and though Cardiff took the game to penalties, Kuyt was not to be denied a first major honour with the club, scoring in the shoot-out.
Kuyt leaves Liverpool having played 285 games and scoring 71 goals with notable strikes including his goal in the 2007 Champions League final as well as a hat-trick against Manchester United.