But Espanyol boss Sanchez Flores appears to have been their No 1 target all along.
Would Sanchez Flores be a good appointment for Stoke?
Elsewhere in Spain it had been reported this payment may not be necessary.
The 52-year-old Spaniard then took charge at Espanyol in the summer of 2016, on a three-year deal, and they finished eighth in LaLiga last term. "I want to continue being happy with my profession".
"I'm very grateful to Espanyol, I've been frustrated sometimes because we haven't advanced as fast as desired, but that's because Espanyol haven't been able to, not because they haven't wanted to", he added.
The Potters are looking to bring in a replacement for Mark Hughes after he was axed following a dismal Premier League run and subsequent FA Cup exit at the hands of League Two Coventry City last Saturday.
Martin O'Neill, the Republic of Ireland manager, is still regarded as an attractive option by chairman Peter Coates but Flores could make his return to English football next week.
But the 65-year-old said after the Republic lost their World Cup qualifying play-off the following month he would need to have "a real think" about his future, and still nothing has been signed.
Russell said: "It's been a bit hard with a manager gone who is really well-respected in the club".
"Whoever comes in is coming into a fantastic football club".