- Michael O’Neill is preparing to leave Northern Ireland to become Stoke manager
- The struggling Championship side sacked Nathan Jones after a poor campaign
- Stoke are willing to pay O’Neill’s £650,000 compensation figure to the Irish FA
- He will take charge of remaining Euro 2020 qualifiers before taking over at Stoke
Michael O’Neill is ready to leave his role at Northern Ireland to become Stoke City manager
Nathan Jones was sacked as manager of Stoke at the start of November following a poor start
Stoke previously failed in their attempts to lure Preston North End boss Alex Neil to the club
O’Neill will see out Euro 2020 qualifiers with Northern Ireland before he takes the Stoke job
Michael O’Neill is quitting his job as Northern Ireland manager after eight years to take over at Championship strugglers Stoke City.
Stoke have made a formal approach to the Irish FA and are ready to pay the £650,000 compensation figure included in the new contract O’Neill signed in February 2018.
The 50-year-old is expected to stay in charge of Northern Ireland for their remaining Euro 2020 qualifiers against Holland and Germany before taking up his new role.
O’Neill, who will double his £750,000-a-year salary at the Bet365 Stadium, is set to be joined by Northern Ireland head scout Andy Cousins.
The Potters are looking for their fifth manager in less than two years after sacking Nathan Jones last week with his team bottom of the Championship table.
Having failed in their attempts to appoint Preston North End boss Alex Neil, Stoke switched their sights to O’Neill and club sources confirmed on Thursday night that he is the only candidate in the frame.
O’Neill took over the Northern Ireland job in December 2011 after spells in charge of Shamrock Rovers and Brechin City.
He transformed his country’s fortunes, leading Northern Ireland to their first major championships in 30 years at Euro 2016 before reaching a playoff for the 2018 World Cup.
They are unlikely to qualify ahead of Germany and Holland for Euro 2020 but there is a good chance O’Neill’s successor will have another opportunity through the playoffs in March.
The former Newcastle midfielder has been interested in a return to club management for some time and was linked with the Sunderland job in 2017 before turning down an approach from Scotland last year.