Derek McInnes admits Sunderland were the first club to make him think twice about leaving Aberdeen, but the prospect of a bright future at Pittodrie was too good to leave.
McInnes left the Black Cats reeling when he opted against a switch to Wearside at the 11th hour, with the club still yet to replace David Moyes over five weeks after his resignation.
The Aberdeen boss was Martin Bain’s preferred choice for the role and, while he would not say whether a potential takeover was his reason for saying no, he spoke of Sunderland’s ‘transparency’ in the ultimately unsuccessful talks.
He said: “Things have come up in the past which you quickly move on from, but Sunderland, the size of the club and the potential there, was always something you’d want to look at closely.
“Once the clubs met the valuation, I was keen to ascertain a few things and get a handle on it.
“There were loads of attractions about the club, but, weighing everything up, I decided Aberdeen is where I wanted to be.
“Was the ownership issue a factor? I don’t want to get into the ins and outs of it, to be honest.
“I took my time, I thought long and hard about it.
“There was real transparency when speaking to them but after putting everything together a decision had to be made.”
Despite losing a number of key players, such as Jonny Hayes, Peter Pawlett, Ash Taylor and Ryan Jack, McInnes has already begun rebuilding work with his current side and that was one of the major reasons for his decision.
Aberdeen confirmed the loan signing of Greg Stewart from Birmingham yesterday, having already sealed a deal for Celtic’s Ryan Christie.
McInnes has also tied down influential goalkeeper Joe Lewis to a long-term deal.
He said: “In the end, the decision was I wanted to stay with Aberdeen.
“I have always said it would be a huge wrench to leave this club – there is a lot to be said for being happy at your work.
“You weigh up everything, the targets we have set and the players we are trying to get in.
“And there are also commitments you have made to the players already here.
“Above all, I believe we can be as strong again this coming season as we’ve been the last few years.
“I can feel the motivation and determination from the squad, with new players coming on and more to follow then we’re optimistic.”