(updates with quotes from senior FAI source)
DUBLIN, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Former Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni will become Ireland manager once his contract with Austrian club Salzburg ends in May after agreeing in principle to a deal.
“The intention is we will have a meeting on Wednesday of the board and management to ratify Trapattoni and it is expected he will be announced officially as the new manager on Thursday night,” a senior Football Association of Ireland (FAI) source who declined to be identified told Reuters on Monday.
In a move similar to new England coach Fabio Capello’s inclusion of former defender Stuart Pearce on his backroom team, the FAI is to hand a role to ex-Ireland international Liam Brady.
“Brady will have a role in the backroom staff,” said the source. “What that role is will of course be up to the new manager.”
Former midfield general Brady, who played under Trapattoni at Juventus in the early 1980s, will take on the Ireland role while remaining as head of Arsenal’s academy.
Former England coach Terry Venables had also been in the running for the manager’s job. “Venables was a very credible candidate but this appointment (of Trapattoni) raises the bar for future appointments of Irish managers and sends a signal the FAI was bold enough and had the money to get a top-class candidate,” said the source.
“The three-man committee (headed by caretaker coach Don Givens) are all convinced Trapattoni was the right man for the job.”
The FAI are also seeking to appoint a new director of football.
The source said Brady was not in contention for that role as he had not obtained the relevant coaching badges.
“The FAI has appointed a team of headhunters to look for a high-profile candidate in a bid to make sure we have new talent in the future,” added the source.
Former manager Steve Staunton’s contract was terminated in October after Ireland failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and the FAI has faced criticism over the protracted process to find a successor.
According to a report in the Irish Independent, the FAI were preparing to pay Trapattoni up to 2 million euros ($2.91 million) a year.
Trapattoni, 68, has won seven Serie A crowns with Juventus and Inter Milan, a German Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich and a Portuguese championship with Benfica.
His honours include European Cup, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup triumphs during his 10-year spell at Juventus and a second UEFA Cup title with Inter. (Reporting by Darren Ennis, editing by Tony Jimenez)