Flores to stay at Espanyol; Martin O’Neill’s Ireland future in doubt again

Martin O’Neill’s future as Republic of Ireland manager is again under question after Stoke City missed out on their first choice for their new manager.

Quique Sanchez Flores was expected to take over, but he announced this morning that he will not be leaving his role as Espanyol boss.

The news potentially opens the door for O’Neill to join the Premier League side, after he met club officials earlier in the week.

Both O’Neill and the FAI have so far refused to comment on the increasing speculation in the last few days.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's LaLiga clash with Athletic Bilbao which was dominated by questions about his future, Sanchez Flores said he is happy at Espanyol, with whom he signed a three-year deal when he took charge in the summer of 2016.

The former Benfica and Atletico Madrid boss said in quotes reported by the Spanish press: "I am and will be coach of Espanyol.

"I belong to Espanyol, I have a contract and I'm honest with this club. I'm well, absolutely content with my situation, and I don't have to explain anything else."

He added: "I'm here and at no point have I said the opposite. It's the facts that matter and nothing else. The facts are that the players don't want to leave and the coach also continues."

- Digital Desk, with additional reporting by PA

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