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O'Neill ready to return to game

Martin O'Neill's exile from football management is set to come to an end after he finally came to an agreement with Aston Villa over the terms of his exit from the club last August.

• Bent fears over Young exit

O'Neill, who is believed to have left Villa Park following a long-running dispute with owner Randy Lerner over transfer funds and targets, was unable to take up a new position until his action against Villa had reached a conclusion.

The two parties have now reached a settlement on O'Neill's contract, the terms of which have not been disclosed, leaving him free to return to management. The matter was resolved during an FA Premier League managers' arbitration tribunal in London which had lasted four days.

He had been linked with the West Ham United job in January and has been installed as one of the favourites for the role since Avram Grant was sacked earlier this month. But it remains doubtful that the former Norwich City, Leicester City and Celtic manager would be willing to drop down into the second tier.

O'Neill said: "It has taken a long time to deal with this matter but I am pleased that all issues have now been amicably finalised. I am very proud to have managed Aston Villa and I wish the club all the best for the future.

"I would also like to thank the LMA and my outstanding legal team for their support and hard work in bringing my case to this very satisfactory conclusion. I am now looking forward to the future and getting back into football management.''

The LMA, in a statement, said: "The LMA is able to confirm that Martin O'Neill and Aston Villa have finalised all issues in relation to his departure from the club in August 2010. The matter was placed before the FA Premier League Managers' Arbitration Tribunal, but was resolved during the course of the hearing.''

Villa issued a short statement which read: "Aston Villa and Martin O'Neill have resolved the matter that had been before the Premier League managers' arbitration tribunal. It was an amicable resolution.''

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