Stoke City manager gossip: Was Quique Sanchez Flores spooked by relegation clause?

Stoke City had hoped and expected to unveil Quique Sanchez Flores as their new manager this weekend but instead the search goes on.

On Friday it had seemed like a long-term deal and project had all been agreed to tempt the Espanyol boss to the bet365 Stadium only for the man himself to change his mind and confirm on Saturday he was staying.

As the Potters change direction and attention turns to O’Neill, speculation has grown about why former Watford, Atletico Madrid and Valencia boss Flores performed his overnight U-turn.

Quique Sanchez Flores and Zinedine Zidane shake hands prior to a La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Real Madrid.

Mike McGrath writes in today’s Sun: “Flores was unhappy with a clause which would slash his £60,000-a-week deal if the club are relegated.

“Stoke had planned to unveil him as their new manager ahead of tomorrow’s match at Manchester United … but chief executive Tony Scholes hopes to hold a second round of talks with O’Neill in the next 48 hours. Paul Lambert is also a candidate.”

For 20 minutes, Flores had avoided a direct answer to constant questioning about his future at a press conference yesterday until he was firmly put on the spot by an Espanyol fanzine, who demanded he tell them straight if he was staying for the rest of the season.

He finally said: “I am the coach of Espanyol and will be. I have all I need here.”

Stoke sit third from bottom in the Premier League with 16 games remaining, starting with tomorrow night’s trip to Manchester United.

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