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IFA put improved pay deal on table as Scots move for O'Neill


By Jim Gracey

The Irish FA have made one final throw of the dice in an attempt to keep in demand Michael O'Neill by offering him a lucrative new contract.

It is understood Northern Ireland manager O'Neill received the new terms yesterday after Scottish football chiefs had approached the IFA with a view to him becoming their new boss. English Championship side Sunderland also want to talk to the 48-year-old about their vacant managerial post.

USA and Rangers are believed to be monitoring the situation with O'Neill, now one of the hottest properties in football after taking Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 finals and to the brink of World Cup qualification, losing out to Switzerland in controversial fashion in a play-off.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed on Tuesday that the IFA would do all they could to keep O'Neill and they have moved quickly by offering him an extension to his current deal which is due to end in 2020 and a significant rise in his wages which at the moment are £500,000 per year.

Northern Ireland football's governing body see O'Neill as one of the best managers around in the international arena and are desperate not to lose him.

The Scottish FA are confident, however, that they can persuade O'Neill to join them and believe the Edinburgh based former Hibs and Dundee United star can take them to their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup.

It is understood that the SFA would like talks to take place as early as next week, though they have been careful to suggest to sources in Scotland that they do not want to rush O'Neill, who is known not only for his clever leadership but also his attention to detail and desire to assess all aspects of every move he makes.

Belfast Telegraph


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