Keane may return to United on Monday as Stoke assistant

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

O'Neill was in contention for the job but it now looks as if former Watford boss and current Espanyol manager Quique Sanchez Flores will take over at the Britannia.

"It's like being engaged - you shouldn't be going out with other people".

It is understood that O'Neill is open to the possibility of returning to club management.

Stoke native Coates is a self-made billionaire, restricting his board to just four colleagues, including his son John and Stoke and England legend Gordon Banks, and has opted against following the modern model of appointing a director of football to oversee transfer activity.

Given the requirement to regain stability at the Bet365 Stadium following a disastrous 2017, sources claim Stoke would want O'Neill on an undivided basis.

That is despite the fact he is still operating as Ireland manager.

He has verbally agreed to stay on in Dublin, but with no deal signed it is looking increasingly likely that he could be tempted by a return to full-time club management and former Manchester United and Ireland captain Keane is nearly certain to follow him to the bet365 Stadium should he agree on a move.

Should Keane not leave then Steve Walford, Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh are in contention for roles.

O'Neill verbally agreed a new two year deal before last October's World Cup qualifier against Wales, but much like his previous extension, O'Neill was slow to put pen to paper and the contract was never signed with the FAI.

Still, it would be a surprise if the manager didn't keep Delaney informed of yesterday's developments.

Keane and O'Neill have worked together with the Republic of Ireland since 2013, guiding the Boys in Green to the 2016 European Championships.

RTE soccer pundit Eamon Dunphy said that the whole situation was "embarrassing" for the FAI and that he could not imagine the English FA, or any other Association, allowing a situation like that to continue. At the start of 2018, these latest developments indicate the only contract poised to be inked by O'Neill are those belonging to Stoke City.