Everything Kristjaan Speakman said about Alex Neil's contract with Sunderland boss set to join Stoke City
Sunderland’s sporting director Kristjaan Speakman says the club have offered Alex Neil new terms and doesn’t think they could have done much more to keep him.
The 41-year-old Scot left Wearside on Friday and is set to finalise his move to Stoke City to take over the vacant manager’s job at the bet365 Stadium.
Neil was on a rolling 12-month contract at Sunderland and was offered fresh terms before this week’s events.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the Black Cats’ match against Norwich, Speakman was asked if more could have been done to keep Neil.
“I don’t believe so,” he replied.
“We had a really, really well-structured contract for when he moved into the Championship and had the appropriate uplifts.
“We had a discussion in the summer because we wanted to reward him and provide a well done. That contract was redrawn up and discussed and that was only signed four weeks ago.
“Obviously on yesterday’s news, naturally on wanting to retain that coach and retain that person within our football club, we’ve made another move to offer another set of terms and just unfortunately it doesn’t appear that will be enough for him to stay.”
Neil’s first-team assistant Martin Canning is set to take charge of the side while Neil is in discussions with Stoke, which was confirmed by a Sunderland press release on Friday.
“At present it’s the same as last night with the press release,” added Speakman.
“All my focus has been around the game so I’m sure the club will be updating supporters and the general public in due course when that information changes.”
When asked why this had been allowed to happen, Speakman said: “I understand the question. And I understand the scrutiny that comes from supporters and the fact that they want to understand the context from it.
"I think it would be remiss of me at this moment to start delving into it when the process is still ongoing and not yet at a conclusion.
“What we would rather do is stay silent on that at present and then be transparent with the supporters after this has all settled down."