THIS COULD BE one of the busiest summers in the transfer market for Irish players, with some of Trap’s big name players constantly mentioned in the off-season rumour mill.
And this week seems crucial.
There has been so much talk this summer, the fact is a whole starting 11 could be leaving their present employers, destined for pastures a similar shade of green.
- Starting at the back, Keiren Westwood has already made the jump, moving on a free transfer from Coventry City to Sunderland. He is set to be replaced at the Ricoh Arena by Joe Murphy. But it is the Shay Given situation that has everyone wondering. It appears the Irish number 1 has quashed the advances of WBA. Aston Villa are rumoured to be upping their offer for the Donegal man, and today rumours re-emerged of interest from Arsenal.
- John O’Shea is a popular target as it appears his days at Old Trafford have come to an end. Sunderland are trying desperately to secure a quick deal as rumours escalate that Arsene Wenger is interested in the utility back, as well as Tony Pulis at Stoke City.
- Sean St Ledger yesterday secured a move away from league one team Preston and will join Sven Goran Eriksson at Leicester City. While notable nomad Darren O’Dea has been linked by a Lancashire local paper with a move to championship side Burnley.
- Everton appear to be sniffing around the Airtricty League once again and according to the Irish Daily Mail (print edition) have targeted Derry City’s James McClean.
- Midfielders Darren Gibson and Keith Tracey could join up together at St James’ Park where Newcastle have taken a keen interest in both. While Sunderland are also rumoured to be still keen on Gibson.
- Wigan’s wonderkid James McCarthy is on the radar of some big clubs. Arsene Wenger has long been an admirer, but it is Liverpool and Chelsea who are trying to lure him from the DW Stadium. Wigan are in frantic contract talks.
- Keith Andrews, despite good showings for the international side could be on his way out of the Premiership, possibly joining Andy Reid at Steve McClaren’s Nottingham Forest.
- Upfront it could be all change for four of the Republic of Ireland’s top strikers. Robbie Keane’s association with Spurs (yes he still is a Spurs employee) could finally come to an end with Bolton favourites to pick up the Irish Captain. Kevin Doyle‘s tireless work-rate has yet again caught the eye of the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Reports suggest the Wexford man could be brought in to take over from the much derided Nicklas Bendtner. A opening bid of €13.5m has also been mooted.
- Doyle’s former club-mate Shane Long is apparently attracting a lot of attention after his magnificent season in the Championship for Reading. Some reports claim Long is a target of up to four Premiership clubs, as well as European giants Celtic and Bayern Munich bizarrely; Reading will not let their prized asset go cheaply – the bidding starts at €11.2m.
- His strike partner at Reading last season Noel Hunt, brother of Stephen, was apparently a target for West Ham, however with revelations about their capture of the Olympic Stadium being investigated, it puts any Hammers acquisitions in doubt at present.
- For some it is good thing their names are not being bandied about. Both Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland have been told they have a future at Aston Villa by new boss Alex McLeish, according to a report in last weekend’s News of the World. That despite having had grievances and fallings out with former boss Gerard Houllier.
- However it appears that Andy Keogh is no longer a part of Mick McCarthy’s plans at Wolves according to the Hearld.
And breathe out….