Aston Villa skipper Gareth Barry has confirmed that he came perilously close to leaving the club, before deciding to stay put and pen a new four-year contract at Villa Park.
The 25-year-old England international had been linked with a number of other Premiership clubs this summer, but has now pledged his future to Villa - largely due to the arrival of new boss Martin O'Neill.
Barry said: "My decision to go was made before David O'Leary got the sack. I wanted to know if clubs were interested in me because I felt it was the time to move on for the sake of my career.
"It was a strange couple of weeks. O'Leary got sacked and then there was speculation about the new manager coming in so I was in no-man's land.
"How close was I to leaving? I'd virtually asked the club for a move.
"I wanted to know what other offers were out there and to be fair to the club they were good and just wanted me to hold on and wait for the new manager to be appointed and wait for me to make my decision then.
"Thankfully it was the right thing that the club did, because I'm still here and looking forward to the next four years."