The long-term contract that everyone wants for Martin O'Neill is about to come to fruition, with Randy Lerner set to table a massive #2.5 million-a-year deal to secure the Ulsterman's future at Aston Villa.

Despite constant protestations that he is happy with his current agreement, O'Neill will be offered #15 million over six years to stay at Villa Park and complete the remarkable turnaround that has characterised his first two months in charge.

According to sources close to Lerner, the American billion-aire has not only been impressed with O'Neill's leadership of the Premiership club but has enjoyed being involved with English football, perhaps more than he expected.

As a result, he wants to make sure none of Villa's rivals can poach a manager who has performed footballing miracles with a squad that looked so bereft at the end of last season.

Since taking over at Villa in the summer, Lerner has gone public with his admiration of the former Celtic manager and has also expressed his desire to get his position sorted out as a matter of urgency.

"I think Martin O'Neill is great," Lerner said. "He has the record and the history for a long-term contract and that is the plan."

O'Neill was appointed on a 12-month rolling contract but even then the man who hired him, Doug Ellis, was keen to hand him a longer deal although the man himself seemed uninterested in talking about his own position.

But with an offer in the pipeline, he will be rewarded for his side's unbeaten start to the campaign that has seen Villa installed as credible candidates for European football by its end.

Not only have results been significantly better than under David O'Leary - as draws at Arsenal and Chelsea suggest -the manner of the performances have been in stark contrast too.

O'Neill's famed motivational powers have brought the best out of players like Juan Pablo Angel and Gareth Barry with the latter pledging his own future to Villa on the strength of the new manager's arrival.

If O'Neill does sign the six-year deal, it would put make him one of the safest managers in the Premiership, with Chelsea's Jose Mourinho and Bolton Wanderers' Sam Allardyce also enjoying extended security of tenure, but his personal circumstances mean he may be reluctant to make too lengthy a commitment.

Meanwhile, striker Luke Moore could be back in action as early as January after his shoulder injury was discovered to be not as serious as was first feared.

Moore was forced out of last week's draw with Chelsea with a persistent shoulder problem and O'Neill was set to rule out the 20-year-old for the season.

But while Moore is still set to undergo surgery to correct his recurring problem, he is now expected to be pushing for a first-team recall in the new year.

O'Neill said: "The good news is that Luke could be back in as little as three months. I was worried it might be a season-finishing injury, but physio Alan Smith assured me that will not be the case.

"He does need surgery. I think that the doctor feels he must get sorted out soon, because it's not helping him long-term to struggle on with this injury and it must affect him psychologically if he's thinking about it in matches." n Arsenal's David Dein has been chosen as the new chairman of the G14 group of elite European clubs. Gunners vice-chairman Dein will take up the position immediately, subject to the approval of the Arsenal board.