Stoke City will hand Michael O’Neill a £6 million contract as the Championship strugglers look to convince their number one managerial target to walk away from the Northern Ireland job, according to the Sun (8 November, page 62).
After links with Derek McInnes, David Moyes, Uwe Rosler, Chris Hughton and even a potential return for Tony Pulis, O’Neill has emerged as the clear front-runner to take over at the Potteries.
Stoke sacked Nathan Jones after winning just two of their first 14 league games in 2019/20 and, after a week without a manager, the Sun believes that the 50-year-old former Shamrock Rovers coach has already agreed to take up his first ever coaching role in England.
O’Neill has a huge challenge on his hands if he wants to drag Stoke up the table and there is surely a substantial financial reason behind his decision to walk away from his country. The report adds that he is set to double his wages, earning around £1.5 million a season over a four-year deal.
Stoke will also have to part with around £750,000 in compensation to buy O’Neil out of his contract with the Northern Ireland, which still has another five years left to run.
Yet, with Motherwell’s Stephen Robinson lined up as O’Neill’s successor, it seems that Northern Ireland are planning for life without the man who led them to a first international tournament in three decades.
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