Former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis gave Michael O’Neill a reference for new signing John Obi Mikel.
Mikel penned a one-year contract with the Potters on Monday.
The former Chelsea midfielder played under Pulis at Stoke City in the 2018/19 season.
The 33-year-old – a free agent after leaving Trabzonspor in March – was a wanted man around Europe and had a lucrative offer on the table from Russia.
But he had a four-hour chat with O’Neill convincing each other that they were the right fit.
O’Neill told TalkSPORT: “We didn’t feel that possibly we would be in a position to get him but having met the lad – he spent a day up here with us in Stoke – he liked what he saw and we liked what we saw in him in terms of what his vision was.
“And when you’ve got a player that has had the career at the level that John has had you are always a little bit worried about them coming to a team in the Championship.
“But we did a lot of due diligence on him, got references from people like Tony Pulis who he played under at Middlesbrough and other people that he’s worked under.
“But the most important thing was that John was really keen to come. He wants to try to finish his career in the Premier League having obviously been in China and having been abroad again in Turkey and hopefully he can do that with Stoke City.”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.