And that’s left Dons fans staring at the possibility of losing a number of top players and their boss during the summer.
Ryan Jack, Niall McGinn, Ash Taylor and Peter Pawlett have already departed Pittodrie over the last two weeks.
There’s no guarantee those will be the only players who leave the club too.
So the news McInnes is seriously interesting Sunderland is worrying for Aberdeen fans – and must have them thinking about what comes next if he was to make the move to the Stadium of Light.
Here, we look at five potential replacements for McInnes that could cushion the blow for Dons supporters:
1 – Alex Neil
Neil is available after leaving Norwich in March and would be a fantastic appointment at Aberdeen if the opportunity arose. He’s done it in Scotland before with Hamilton, leading them to promotion and then an outstanding performance in the Premiership. And he followed that up with immediate promotion to the Premier League with Norwich. So Neil’s CV would definitely appeal to Stewart Milne and the Aberdeen board.
2 – Tommy Wright
You’d be hard pushed to find a more deserving manager in Scottish football than Wright. He’s been incredible for St Johnstone over his four years at McDiarmid Park – so good that it’s actually surprising he’s still there. Consecutive seasons in Europe, consistently big results and a Scottish Cup win have us thinking what Wright could do if he had a bigger budget – like Aberdeen’s. There’s no doubting he’d be a safe appointment too.
3 – Michael O’Neill
O’Neill has managed in Scotland before, managing Brechin for two seasons before heading to Ireland to manage Shamrock Rovers. Since then, he’s been Northern Ireland manager and led his nation to the knockout stages of Euro 2016 last year against the odds. A club will eventually be able to tempt O’Neill away and maybe Aberdeen is big enough to get him? Being in Scotland could help too considering O’Neill lives in Edinburgh at the moment.
4 – Jack Ross
Ross has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become one of the most exciting young managers in Scottish football thanks to the jobs he’s done at Alloa and St Mirren. At Recreation Park, he had the Wasps on the verge of promotion before being tempted away to former club St Mirren to save them from Championship relegation. When he took over the Buddies were heading for League One, but a ridiculous second half of the season saw them avoid the drop on the final day. Given he’s only been at St Mirren for less than a year, it might be difficult for Aberdeen to do what Dundee failed and actually get Ross, but they’re a bigger club with more money and may get the Paisley side to talk about a price.
5 – Paul Lambert
Lambert might see a return to Scotland as his best option considering a number of previous jobs in England have ended on a bad note. He parted company with Wolves at the end of the season, following disappointing spells with Blackburn and Aston Villa before that. You have to go back to his spell with Norwich between 2012 and 2015 to find the last time Lambert really succeeded at a club – and Aberdeen may be a chance to rebuild his reputation. He knows Scotland and would be a manager of high profile that should appeal to Dons fans.
Aberdeen fans – who would you want to replace McInnes IF he goes?