Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill agrees to become Stoke boss
O'Neill will take charge of Stoke for the first time in Saturday’s bottom-of-the-table clash away at Barnsley
By Paul Gilmour
Last Updated: 08/11/19 1:07pm
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has agreed to take charge of Championship side Stoke City.
It is understood a compensation deal is close to being secured between Stoke and the Irish Football Association. O'Neill will earn almost twice his salary and remain in charge of Northern Ireland's next two European Qualifying games.
O'Neill was at the training ground on Friday morning to take training and meet the players. Sky Sports News has been told he wanted to get stuck into the role immediately.
O'Neill will then travel to Belfast later this weekend ahead of Euro Qualifiers against Netherlands and Germany.
Stoke, currently bottom of the Championship, made an official approach and Sky Sports News understands O'Neill informed the IFA he would like the chance to talk to them.
According to reports, Stoke will offer O'Neill a four-year contract and double his £800,000 salary.
O'Neill told Sky Sports News on Wednesday "good ownership and good people" would be key factors for him when the time comes to leave international management for a club job.
O'Neill was previously given permission to speak to Scotland but declined the role, while he has also attracted interest from West Brom and Sunderland, after raising Northern Ireland from 129th in the world to 20th in 2017.
He guided them to their first European Championships in 2016, where they reached the last 16, before just missing out on a first World Cup place since 1986 when Switzerland edged them in the play-offs.
O'Neill is currently preparing his side to face Netherlands and Germany next week in the European Qualifiers and, although they can still qualify through Group C, a play-off in March is more likely.
He has only managed club teams in Scotland with Brechin City and Ireland with Shamrock Rovers, where he won two League of Ireland championships.
Nathan Jones was sacked by Stoke at the start of November.
Watch Northern Ireland v Netherlands live on Sky Sports Football on November 16 from 7:15pm; kick-off 7:45pm.