Michael O’Neill to be offered improved Northern Ireland deal to fight off Rangers and Scotland

Northern Ireland plan to offer Michael O’Neill an improved deal, Sky Sports News understands, amid reported interest from Rangers, Scotland and USA.

The 48-year-old only signed a new deal with Northern Ireland last year, taking him through to 2020, and it is believed the relationship between the manager and the Irish FA is excellent.

O’Neill is in no rush to change jobs, according to Sky sources, and he will take time to assess his options following the disappointment of a World Cup play-off defeat to Switzerland.

However, he is reportedly considered a prime candidate to replace Gordon Strachan by some members of the Scottish FA board, while O’Neill also has supporters in the USA, who are yet to name Bruce Arena’s successor.

A number of club sides, including Rangers, are also said to be monitoring the man who led Northern Ireland to a maiden European Championships in 2016, and it is understood the right club project would be the preferred choice should he leave his current job.

Sky Sports commentator Gerry Armstrong says big clubs will be interested in Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill after they narrowly missed out on World Cup qualification

Following his success with Northern Ireland and the added factor of an emotional attachment to the country he made 31 appearances for, O’Neill will not take any decision to leave lightly and will only be tempted by a job that offers a clear vision and allows him time to build.

The lure of replacing Strachan and returning Scotland to a major European competition could also prove tempting but there are concerns that O’Neill’s rising reputation may have put him out of their price range.

It is expected Scotland would need to at least double his current £500,000 annual salary.

A number of Northern Ireland players, led by captain Steven Davis and Jonny Evans, have publicly stated their desire for O’Neill to stay and continue his work.

They were ranked 129th in the world seven months into his reign but the turnaround was remarkable as they moved into the top 20 sides in the world in September.