"I did have to think about it," he confessed to The Sentinel, "and it took me to the last few minutes of the transfer window for me to do it.
"Stoke has been the best four years of my career.
"I came down here from Sunderland and listened to the manager talk about what he wanted to do with the club, and to be fair it's turned out how he wanted it to.
"It's been an absolute thrill and privilege for me to have helped the club push on to being a top-10 club for the next 10 years at least.
"I wish I could have played a bit more over the last year, it's just a shame these things don't always work out.