GARY O’NEIL has been confirmed as the permanent Bournemouth boss — but is struggling to talk Neil Critchley into joining as his No 2.
O’Neil has been in interim charge but got the nod to go full-time on an 18-month contract as new owner Tom Foley’s takeover completes.
The club have the option of extending his deal by an extra year.
Marcelo Bielsa had been contacted by the Cherries who were considering their options.
But O’Neil, 39, did enough to persuade them he is worth a run on a permanent basis.
Former Blackpool boss and Villa coach Critchley is his first choice to be assistant, as we revealed last week.
But the size and length of the contract on offer is not enough to tempt him at this point.
Critchley spent seven years with Liverpool’s academy and development teams.
And he even took charge of two first-team matches in the 2019-20 season when Jurgen Klopp was away with the first team.
O’Neil also worked with Liverpool’s Under-23s, joining as Barry Lewtas’ assistant following Critchley’s exit.
He moved to Bournemouth as senior first-team coach to Jonathan Woodgate and stated on when Scott Parker took over.
Parker was dismissed following the 9-0 defeat to Liverpool in August.
O’Neil has won four, drawn four and lost four of his 12 games in charge to move the Cherries up to 14th in the Premier League table, three points above the relegation zone.
Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake said: “Gary did an excellent job on an interim basis and the board are delighted to make his position as head coach permanent.
“We have been impressed with the way he has conducted himself from the moment he joined the club and feel he has earned this opportunity to continue to take the team and the club forward.
“Gary has worked tirelessly and diligently on the training pitch and the players have responded by producing some excellent performances and results.
“It was evident from the reception he received from our supporters following the Premier League win against Everton that they have also appreciated his efforts and we are all looking forward to continuing our working relationship with him.”