Martin O'Neill in talks with Stoke City

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The Football Association of Ireland could be about to lose Martin O'Neill from their grasp after the Ireland manager last night held what was understood to be a productive meeting with Stoke City about their managerial vacancy.

If O'Neill had taken the job, he would have been free to walk away without the FAI reeceiving any compensation.

Keane was tipped as O'Neill's potential successor in the national gig but could now be with him at the Potteries.

"It's like being engaged - you shouldn't be going out with other people".

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Stoke reportedly met with O'Neill on Wednesday ahead of holding further talks today, although the Ireland boss is not thought to be their first choice for the job.

O'Neill and Keane have worked together for Ireland since 2013 but did not manage to secure a spot at this summer's World Cup.

That is despite the fact he is still operating as Ireland manager. The Ireland manager has moved a step closer to replacing Mark Hughes, and Keane, his assistant, would join him.

Should Keane not leave then Steve Walford, Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh are in contention for roles.

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While the FAI confirmed yesterday that had received no approach from Stoke about talking to O'Neill, the Premier League club were entitled to go directly to the Derryman without consulting Abbotstown as nothing was signed and sealed. It appears that O'Neill, whilst having agreed a contract with the FAI was still open to offers from others.

O'Neill has yet to sign his new Ireland deal, but has a verbal agreement in place with the FAI to remain in charge through Euro 2020.

"I can't think of any other Association that would allow their manager to stall in this way", Dunphy told News At One on RTÉ Radio 1.

RTE pundit Dunphy has been critical of O'Neill in the past but this time has taken aim at the association.

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