Sunderland still seeking a boss after Derek McInnes decides to stay at Aberdeen
Derek McInnes has turned down the opportunity to take charge of Sunderland and will instead remain as Aberdeen boss, the Scottish Premiership club have announced.
McInnes had held talks with the recently-relegated Black Cats, who are in the market for a new manager after David Moyes left following a poor season which saw them finish bottom of the Premier League.
But now chief executive Martin Bain will have to go back to the drawing board as McInnes opted to stay on at Pittodrie.
McInnes guided the Dons to a third successive second-placed finish, although they were a distant 30 points behind runaway champions Celtic.
The 45-year-old former Rangers and West Brom midfielder has previously managed in England during a spell at Bristol City but has decided against another stint south of the border.
Aberdeen announced the news on their website late on Thursday evening, with McInnes - whose assistant Tony Docherty will also remain at the club - now looking ahead to next season.
"I have ambitions in the game and while there was interest from elsewhere, and I did talk to Sunderland, I feel there is so much still to be done here at Aberdeen." he said.
"While we have lost players from last season, they will be replaced by signings of similar quality and our first challenge is to reach the group stages of the Europa League after coming so close in each of the last three seasons.
"Since the first day I arrived at Pittodrie, my biggest gripe has been the lack of training facilities and, with progress at last on that front, it's something I am keen to see through to its conclusion."
It was on Wednesday that Aberdeen confirmed they had "reluctantly" granted permission for McInnes and Docherty to speak to Sunderland.
But, after the decision was taken to stay put, chairman Stewart Milne paid tribute to McInnes' achievements since he took the reins in 2013.
"I am personally absolutely delighted that Derek and Tony have agreed to stay and have never doubted their commitment to the club," he said.
"Given what Derek has achieved here, there is inevitably going to be interest from other clubs and in making the decision to stay, he has demonstrated how much Aberdeen Football Club means to him.
"It is now up to all of us, the board, staff, players and supporters to show how much we appreciate having him at the helm by getting right behind him in every way possible."
Losing out on McInnes will be seen as a blow to Sunderland, who also sold goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to Everton on Thursday for £30million.
Preston boss Simon Grayson and former striker Kevin Phillips remain in the frame.