PLYMOUTH Argyle striker Joe Mason has revealed he did not find it a difficult decision to turn down the chance of a transfer to Swindon Town.
The financially-stricken Pilgrims accepted an offer, thought to be £300,000, for Mason
from their League One rivals after snubbing two previous bids.
But 19-year-old Mason, born and bred in Plymouth, opted to stay at Home Park.
Swindon are seeking to add firepower to their squad after selling star striker Charlie Austin to Championship club Burnley.
Mason told The Herald: "To be honest, it wasn't a difficult decision to make.
"I'm sure Swindon are a really good club, but I have been at Argyle since I was 11 and if I'm going to leave I want to make sure it's the best possible move for me.
"It has got to be worth moving away from Argyle, and from Plymouth, for.
"I know the club needs money badly, but I had to think about myself. At the end of the day, it's my career and I didn't feel it was the right move for me."
Had Mason signed for Swindon, the transfer fee for him would have been paid up front. That would have allowed the Pilgrims to clear their tax debts arrears to HM Revenue and Customs.
In turn, that would have seen a transfer embargo on them lifted by the Football League.
Instead, Argyle manager Peter Reid is still prevented from signing any players on loan before the transfer window slams shut at 11pm tonight.
But Reid was still pleased Mason had decided not to leave for Swindon.
Reid said: "I'm happy about it. I understand the predicament the club is in, though, so maybe I'm being selfish."
He added: "Joe is a young footballer who I think has got a real chance."
Mason did not play in Argyle's 2-1 defeat by Bournemouth at Home Park on Saturday because he was still ruled out by an ankle injury.
He did the damage when the Pilgrims won 3-1 away to MK Dons on January 18.
Mason sat out the 2-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic four days later, and had to watch from the stands at Home Park on Saturday.
The Pilgrims' prospect is unlikely to be fit for the trip to Yeovil Town tomorrow.
But Mason expects to be available for selection when Argyle travel to Brentford at the weekend.
He said: "I think tomorrow might come a bit early for me, but I will definitely be alright for Saturday."
Argyle were beaten by second-placed Bournemouth after failing to make the most of the numerous chances they created.
Reid admitted his side had missed the finishing prowess of Mason.
He said: "For a young man, he has a clear head in those situations. It doesn't faze him.
"I thought we snatched at a few chances. We just needed a bit of composure.
"In general play, I didn't think we missed him but, in terms of finishing, possibly we did. He's not bad at those chances."
Argyle have sold Craig Noone, Reda Johnson, George Donnelly and Bradley Wright-Phillips during the January transfer window.
Left-back Onismor Bhasera had also seemed set to sign on loan for Premier League club Blackpool last week.
But the deal to take him there until the end of the season collapsed on Friday.
Blackpool, managed by former Pilgrims' boss Ian Holloway, were prepared to pay a six figure loan fee for Bhasera.
And they would have had the first option to sign him on a permanent transfer in the summer.
But Bhasera has a knee injury at the moment and The Herald understands Blackpool did not want to complete a deal until he was fit.
It is also thought the 24-year-old had some unresolved issues with Blackpool.
So, for the time being, Bhasera remains a member of the Pilgrims' squad, although not available for selection because of injury.
Further player departures before the 11pm deadline tonight cannot be ruled out.
There has been at least one other inquiry about Mason, but without an offer being made.
Argyle football consultant Peter Ridsdale was not at Home Park on Saturday for the game against Bournemouth.
Instead, he was believed to be working on a 'plan B' to rescue Argyle from financial ruin, in the event of promised funding from Japanese-based directors Yasuaki Kagami and George Synan not arriving this week.