Belfast Telegraph

Scots agree price for NI boss Michael: now talks can begin

 

By Graham Luney

Fresh doubt has been cast on Michael O'Neill's future as Northern Ireland manager after it emerged that Scotland chiefs can now put their case to the 48-year-old.

The Scottish FA agreed to meet the Irish FA's compensation demands last night, allowing them the opportunity to open talks with O'Neill and convince him to take the Scotland post.

Talks are expected to get under way next week and Hampden chiefs are hopeful they can make O'Neill a financially lucrative offer that should make him the highest paid manager in Scotland's history.

The former Shamrock Rovers boss will be offered a four-year deal, expected to be worth more than £500,000 a year, by SFA chief-executive Stewart Regan.

There will be also be a lucrative bonus on offer should he end Scotland's wait for a major tournament which stretches back to 1998.

O'Neill has been the Scottish FA's first choice to succeed Gordon Strachan since October but the Irish FA came up with a counter offer of a bumper six-year contract worth up to £700,000 per year.

But even though agreement has been reached between the associations on the amount Scotland stand to pay the Irish FA, in the region of £500,000, it is understood that O'Neill remains undecided regarding his next career move.

Regan will need to convince the former Hibernian and Dundee United star that masterminding a Scotland revival will give a major bounce to his managerial career.

Sunderland failed with overtures towards O'Neill and his immediate future now looks to be on the international stage but he has stressed a desire to see the matter resolved in the near future.

Edinburgh-based O'Neill guided Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 finals and only missed out on qualification for the World Cup Finals in Russia following a controversial penalty decision which gave Switzerland the edge in a tense play-off over two legs.

Belfast Telegraph

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