Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill agrees to become Stoke boss

Ross Houston
November 8, 2019

There is still some negotiating to be done regarding a six-figure compensation fee due to the Irish Football Association, but O'Neill has agreed in principle to a four-year contract at Stoke.

Michael Walker of The Athletic is reporting that O'Neill is set to depart Northern Ireland and take up the role as Stoke manager.

Reports coming out of England on Thursday night suggested that bar a last-minute hitch O'Neill would be the new manager of the Championship club.

O'Neill will earn nearly twice his salary and remain in charge of Northern Ireland's next two European Qualifying games.

He will nearly double his £750,000 salary at the IFA.

O'Neill, it is understood, has been given assurances the club - at the foot of the league - will have money to spend in January.

Stoke have endured a awful start to the season, sitting at the bottom of the Championship with just two league wins so far this season.

Speaking at Wednesday's squad announcement in Belfast, O'Neill was asked about potential interest from Stoke.

Nathan Jones was sacked by Stoke at the start of November. "It is better to be linked than not linked, let's be honest", said O'Neill, who was unsuccessfully targeted by Scotland a year ago.

"But it is not a distraction for me".

After that, they were denied a World Cup finals spot only by a highly contentious play-off defeat to Switzerland and are now highly likely to feature in the Euro 2020 play-offs in March.

Regardless of those results a play-off place seems likely for Northern Ireland, which will surely factor into the 50-year-old's thinking as he ponders the prospect of taking over the Championship strugglers.

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