Alex Neil has left Sunderland to become the new manager of fellow Championship club Stoke City.

The ex-Norwich and Preston manager led the Black Cats to a play-off victory after the previous campaign, which helped them gain promotion back to the second tier.

On the other hand, Stoke triggered a buy-out clause in his contract, and he is now confirmed as Michael O’Neil’s successor. After attending the 1-0 victory at Blackburn on Saturday, he has signed a three-year contract.

Sunderland’s statement reads: “Sunderland AFC can confirm that Alex Neil has joined Stoke City with immediate effect.

“The 41-year-old expressed his desire to leave the club on Friday morning despite signing an improved contract at the Stadium of Light earlier this month.

“SAFC made an immediate offer to further significantly enhance Neil’s terms on Friday afternoon, but he declined this proposal to remain on Wearside and reiterated his desire to leave the club.

“He has now finalised a move to the bet365 Stadium and the process to appoint a new head coach is underway.”

Joint Stoke chairman John Coates said: “Alex was our number one choice to become our new manager and I’m delighted we have secured his services so quickly.

“His managerial pedigree is excellent with three promotions already on his CV and we are looking forward to working closely with him to help him realise the ambitions that he and the club share.”