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Irish FA give green light to Michael O'Neill's new Northern Ireland deal

By Graham Luney

Michael O'Neill will sign a new contract to remain as manager of Northern Ireland until 2024 after the Irish FA board ratified the deal.

Irish FA chiefs have rubberstamped the enhanced package that was put on the table just as Scotland began searching for Gordon Strachan's successor.

The four-year extension to his existing deal is worth around £750,000 a year to O'Neill, making him the highest paid manager in Northern Ireland's history.

In the £4m package, the former Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers boss will be given an enhanced role in the development of football in the province.

After holding talks with senior players including West Brom ace Gareth McAuley and Hearts defender Aaron Hughes, O'Neill opted to remain in his current role.

The 48-year-old held talks with the Scottish FA and was also linked with jobs at West Brom and Sunderland but the Irish FA's improved contract offer convinced him to go nowhere.

Meanwhile, Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson has warned Celtic they must dig deeper if they want to net Northern Ireland goalkeeper Trevor Carson.

The Fir Park side rejected a £200,000 offer on Monday but Hoops may up their offer before the transfer window closes.

"Our valuations were miles away from one another. That's as far as it has gone at the minute," said Robinson. "It would have to be a very good bid to let Trevor go."

The 29-year-old arrived at Fir Park on a three-year contract in the summer in a £10,000 move from Hartlepool United.

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