The FAI have responded to speculation over the weekend that manager Martin O’Neill could be in line to return to the Premier League.
The odds had shortened dramatically by Saturday morning on O’Neill leaving his post as Ireland boss after four years to replace Ronald Koeman at Everton, though those rumours have since died down somewhat.
In any event, O’Neill is yet to sign the new two-year contract that he has verbally agreed with the FAI in principle, and the reaction to the manner in which Ireland failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup had apparently led to the former Leicester and Celtic boss taking some time to reconsider his position.
However, speaking to the Sunday Times, the FAI’s honorary treasurer Eddie Murray feels that it is a matter of when, not if, O’Neill signs on to lead Ireland into the Euro 2020 campaign:
“The contract is agreed and it is just a question of signing it. As of now, there is no reason to believe that he won’t.
“You can interpret it how you like, but as far as I am concerned we have an agreement with him and we expect him to sign.”
Everton are likely to intensify their efforts to hire a permanent successor to Koeman in the wake of Sunday’s 4-1 defeat to Southampton, with interim manager David Unsworth highly unlikely to be given the job full-time Whether or they do eventually pursue O’Neill remains to be seen, but as long as the wait goes on (and O’Neil’s contract remains unsigned), so too will the speculation.