Wednesday 18 July 2018

Martin O'Neill back in frame for Stoke job as Quique Sánchez Flores confirms he is staying in Spain

Quique Sanchez Flores and (inset) Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane
Quique Sanchez Flores and (inset) Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Quique Sánchez Flores has turned down an offer to manage Stoke City.

Flores' decision to stay at Espaynol will now raise questions about the future of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane.

Flores explained his decision during a press conference for Espaynol today.

"Here I have all I need. I am the coach and will continue to be until the end of the season," said Flores.

"I belong to Espanyol, I have contract and am honest with the club. I do not understand that you put so much effort in coach. I am well and quite happy with my situation. I don't have to explain anything else."

Sanchez Flores, who guided to Watford to a 13th-placed Premier League finish and an FA Cup semi-final during his one season in English football in 2015-16, continued: "Football brings these types of situations and clubs ask questions and find out what they find out. It happens constantly with the players.

"But the important thing is that we think. We are happy, we have many things that make us feel like that.

"We like the connection (with the club), how they treat us, I like that Espanyol are growing. I'm in a great city and am involved in one of the best leagues in the world.

"Everything I need, I have here.

"I have nothing else to add, only that I have to focus on the next LaLiga match."

Stoke will now turn their attention back to Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, who held talks with the Potters last week.

However, it remains to be seen if O'Neill will be willing to make the move after it emerged he was shunted down the the Stoke priority list and was playing second fiddle to Flores.

Luke Edwards of the Telegraph, a journalist who has close ties with the O'Neill camp, is reporting that Stoke now want the Ireland boss but heis still undecided.

"O'Neill has still not decided whether to accept their offer as he and his assistant Roy Keane are excited by the challenge of building a new, younger Ireland squad during their European Nations Cup campaign, which starts later this year," writes Edwards.

"Indeed, Keane is thought to have helped persuade O'Neill to stay on over the last few weeks, but there is a growing risk Stoke will make an offer that is too good for them to turn down. Keane will almost certainly join O'Neill at the Bet365 Stadium if Stoke can agree terms with them."

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