SUNDERLAND have suffered a major blow after Derek McInnes turned down the opportunity to take over as manager of the club.

McInnes informed Black Cats chief executive Martin Bain that he would not be taking over at the Stadium of Light earlier today, even though Sunderland had agreed a compensation package with Aberdeen for his services.

Sunderland have spent most of the last month pursuing the former Rangers midfielder, who was Bain's first choice to succeed David Moyes.

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Their plans are now in tatters, with McInnes having opted to remain at Pittodrie.

Tonight's developments are a major embarrassment for Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain, who had championed McInnes' candidature and spent the first half of the week negotiating a compensation agreement with the Aberdeen board.

McInnes was in line to treble his wages with a move to Wearside, but regards remaining in the Scottish Premier League as a better option.

His decision suggests he was deeply unhappy with the budget he was being offered for new players, despite Sunderland having banked £30m from the sale of Jordan Pickford.

He is also understood to have had reservations about the impact of a possible takeover on his position as manager.

Aberdeen chairman Stuart Milne said: "I am personally absolutely delighted that Derek and Tony have agreed to stay and have never doubted their commitment to the club.

"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."

McInnes added: "As the chairman has said, 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.

"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."