Will Buckley has admitted Sunderland’s interest turned his head during his final six months with Albion.

The Seagulls almost sold the winger to Sunderland in January.

Former boss Gus Poyet finally landed Buckley in a £2.5 million deal last week.

Albion manager Sami Hyypia hit out at Buckley once his move had been completed, criticising his attitude.

Buckley, speaking to the Sunderland Echo, admitted: "I wanted to play in the Premier League and when Gus showed interest (in January), obviously it turned my head straightaway.

"It was really close in January and it went right to the last day. I tried not to think about moving on, because you can't do that when you are playing week in and week out.

"But at the end of the day it probably does affect you, because it is in the back of your mind.

"I tried to carry on as though I was going to be at Brighton for a long time, because I was under contract, but when clubs come in for you – especially from the Premier League – you do get a bit distracted, so it probably was at the back of my mind for the last part of last season.

"It has been a tough six months. It nearly happened in January, but I'm just glad it has happened now."