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Northern Ireland offer Michael O'Neill bumper deal to stay

by 14/11/2017 18:48:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Northern Ireland are desperate to keep Michael O'Neill out of Scotland clutches
  • O'Neill is under contract until 2020 after signing an extension just last year
  • He took Northern Ireland to last 16 of Euro 2016 and World Cup play-offs 

By John Greechan For The Scottish Daily Mail

Published: 18:48 EST, 14 November 2017 | Updated: 18:48 EST, 14 November 2017

Northern Ireland have launched a last-ditch bid to keep Michael O'Neill out of Scotland's clutches by offering him yet another lucrative new contract intended to fend off all but the most wealthy of suitors.

Already under contract until 2020 after signing a bumper extension just last year, O'Neill remains the SFA's top target to replace Gordon Strachan as Scotland boss.

Under the terms of his current deal, O'Neill can take up the Hampden offer without the SFA being hit for serious compensation – unlike club sides who would face a £750,000 bill to land the former Brechin City boss.

Northern Ireland have launched a last-ditch bid to keep Michael O'Neill as manager
Northern Ireland have launched a last-ditch bid to keep Michael O'Neill as manager

Northern Ireland have launched a last-ditch bid to keep Michael O'Neill as manager

The new contract is likely to contain an even more prohibitive release clause but will see O'Neill receive a hefty increase on his current salary of £500,000 a year.

What isn't clear is whether the Irish FA are willing and able to match the SFA pound for pound, with recent reports suggesting he could almost double his money by taking the Scotland job.

With Rangers among those credited with an interest, O'Neill is deliberately giving himself breathing space before making arguably the biggest decision of his career to date.

Having taken the Northern Ireland job when the team were at a low ebb in late 2011, the former Hibs and Dundee United player guided them to their first major finals in 30 years when they qualified for the 2016 European Championship, ultimately reaching the last 16.

The SFA want O'Neill to replace the recently departed Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager
The SFA want O'Neill to replace the recently departed Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager

The SFA want O'Neill to replace the recently departed Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager

He also took them to the brink of World Cup qualification before an agonising 1-0 aggregate to Switzerland in the play-offs.

That has opened up the possibility of O'Neill, who still lives in Edinburgh, moving on to pastures new.

Scotland have been searching for a new boss since Strachan departed following his failure to guide them to next year's finals in Russia.

With interim head coach Malky Mackay already ruled out of the running by SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, the field has narrowed considerably.

Paul Lambert, Alex McLeish and Derek McInnes remain potential candidates should O'Neill decide to stay put or move elsewhere.

O'Neill took Northern Ireland to the last 16 of Euro 2016 and the World Cup play-offs
O'Neill took Northern Ireland to the last 16 of Euro 2016 and the World Cup play-offs

O'Neill took Northern Ireland to the last 16 of Euro 2016 and the World Cup play-offs

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