Inigo Calderon has revealed the emotional pull which made him snub Southampton and re-sign for Albion.

The Spanish star decided to let his heart rule his head by accepting a three-year contract with the Seagulls, instead of a big wage increase with Saints.

The deal with Albion is the same one withdrawn by the club at the end of the season as Calderon and his agent, former Seagull Peter Smith, waited for Southampton to show their hand.

That prompted strong words of criticism for Calderon from boss Gus Poyet, who was resigned to the defender moving further along the south coast.

Now, thanks to a dramatic U-turn, Poyet no longer has the headache of finding a replacement at right-back for the player he signed from the Spanish wilderness in January and who went on to become such a key figure in Albion's climb away from relegation trouble in League One.

Calderon, speaking exclusively to The Argus before flying back to Spain, said: “It was a very sad day for me a month ago but now I am very happy.

“I needed time to consider the other option.There was a mistake in the communication with the club and they were disappointed that I wanted more time.

“Now I've had time to consider the two options and I prefer to stay with Brighton. I am very happy here and I want to continue my career here.

“I think it would have been two years with Southampton. We were still sorting out the terms.“The money they were offering was better than Brighton. Of course, that is important, but my feelings were for Brighton.

“Sometimes if you are happy in one place then it is complicated to change. I wanted to thank everybody for the way they have welcomed me and accepted me, the staff, the fans, the rest of the players.

“I will be working again under Gus Poyet and we will be in a new stadium soon, so there are a lot of reasons for me to stay here.”

Calderon, 28, is confident all the acrimony at the end of the season will soon be forgotten.

“We made a mistake,” he admitted. “It didn't mean I didn't want to stay here.

“If people felt angry with me then I am sorry, I only wanted time to make my decision. I am sure the fans will forgive me once I am playing again.

“I am very comfortable at the club. They gave me chance in English football. They know me very well.

“I have spoken to Gus and there is no problem between us. I am happy to be playing for him, because I think he is one of the best young managers in England.”

Poyet said: “It was difficult to accept at the time, because we were convinced we had lost him. I don't know what happened with Inigo and Southampton, I am just pleased that he has signed for us.

“We have spoken and I think he understands how difficult the whole situation was for us.

“If it had been a club in a higher division than us it would have been different but there never has been and never will be any problem between us personally.”

With his future secured Calderon can now concentrate on being fit for the start of the season after suffering a hip injury at Southend in April.

He said: “I was with the specialist again in London on Tuesday and he is very positive about my progress.”* Mitch Walker, Albion's 18-year-old goalkeeping prospect, has signed a 12-month contract extension, keeping him at the club for the first season at Falmer in 2011-12.