Bournemouth will shortly announce the permanent appointment of interim manager Gary O’Neil on a two-year-and-half-year deal – with TEAMtalk able to reveal the reasons they are turning to him after failing to land Marcelo Bielsa.
The Cherries, back in the Premier League after a two-year absence, have performed admirably since O’Neil took charge. He stepped in for the sacked Scott Parker in the wake of their humbling 9-0 destruction at Liverpool. And he immediately led the side on an impressive six-game unbeaten run.
Four successive defeats saw the wheels fall off a little bit and led to speculation that the club would turn to a new direction.
Indeed, TEAMtalk were able to reveal that club chiefs were in Las Vegas for talks with their prospective new owner. And he very quickly idenitfied former Leeds hero Bielsa as a big-name option.
However, talks with Bielsa proved complicated and the two parties were unable to agree a deal. Bielsa has since also been linked with the Everton job were they to part company with Frank Lampard.
And Bournemouth have since steadied the ship, somewhat, beating the Toffees in successive matches – once in the Carabao Cup – to climb to 14th in the table.
Now we can confirm reports that the Cherries are set to hand O’Neil the reins on a permanent basis. The 39-year-old will sign a deal to keep him at the Vitality Stadium until summer 2025.
And his main aim will be purely to ensure their survival in the Premier League.
Gary O’Neil set for Bournemouth job
TEAMtalk transfer insider Graeme Bailey has seen Bournemouth in action in close quarters. And he’s been impressed with the job O’Neil has done with the Cherries.
As such, he believes their decision to hand him the job full-time is fully vindicated.
“Gary O’Neill has done brilliantly to persuade Bournemouth to give him the job on a full time basis,” Bailey told TEAMtalk.
“Personally it is no surprise to me, having seen them in action. I watched them against Leeds and although they lost that game, for the first hour they were sensational. They have lost similar leads during his spell, but I am told the football he played and the belief he garnered within the squad was key.
“The club’s new owner Bill Foley, who is still waiting on his Premier League green-light to take charge, made the decision.”
Reasons behind Marcelo Bielsa failure emerge
Bailey is able to reveal Bournemouth were also keen on Roberto De Zerbi prior to his appointment at Brighton.
In the end, though, Bielsa did become a bit of an obsession for the club. However, following talks between the two parties, they decided it would prove too expensive a package. Indeed, we understand Bielsa and his staff were seeking wages of around £6m a year.
“I am told that Roberto De Zerbi, who went to Brighton, was someone they did like the look of, and although having talks with numerous people, the only other boss they approached was Marcelo Bielsa.
“They were intrigued by Bielsa, but bringing him in is not a cheap process,” Bailey added. “He has a big backroom staff and although he was keen – no doubt it was a huge risk.
“In the end, Gary O’Neil just showed too much for them not to go for him.”