O'Neill set for bumper deal

05 October 2006 03:42
Aston Villa's new owner Randy Lerner has revealed he hopes to persuade Martin O'Neill to sign a lucrative long-term contract. The Villains are unbeaten since O'Neill took charge in the summer and Lerner is keen to ensure the former Celtic boss is not tempted to look at other jobs. The American businessman stopped short of confirming press reports that O'Neill's new contract would be worth £15million over six years, but admitted he hoped to discuss terms in the near future. "I think Martin O'Neill is great," Lerner told the Birmingham Post. "He has the record and the history for a long-term contract and that is the plan." The Northern Irishman only signed a 12-month rolling contract when he became Villa manager, because of uncertainty about the club's ownership during the final stages of former chairman Doug Ellis' regime. Meanwhile, O'Neill has played down speculation linking Stan Collymore with a return to Villa in the wake of the striker's announcement that he plans to come out of retirement. "Stan is 35 and he would have to get fit. He would need a lot of willpower and a lot of self-determination to get fit for the Premier League to be perfectly honest," said O'Neill. "At 35 you need a great desire and I just don't know what Stan has been doing in the last couple of years. I don't know whether that desire has returned. "He did terrifically well for me in a short period of time at Leicester. But if you're asking me today whether I could make an assessment that would be a difficult call."

Source: ESA