12 Irish players who could be on the move this summer

Shane Duffy, James McClean and others that could be set for an eventful few weeks.

Republic of Ireland's Shane Duffy (file pic).
Republic of Ireland's Shane Duffy (file pic).
Image: PA

WITH THE EUROS finally done and dusted, people’s attention will now firmly turn to another summer of transfer-related madness.

Some Irish players have already secured moves, including Nathan Collins and Gavin Bazunu, while plenty more are expected to follow.

Check out a list below of some of the most high-profile Boys in Green stars who are being linked with pastures new.

1. James McClean

McClean was named Stoke’s Player of the Year only last August, but his future at the club now looks to be in serious doubt. It’s been a turbulent few months for the winger. Last April, Stoke boss Michael O’Neill expressed his unhappiness after the player aggravated an injury on international duty. In January, the 32-year-old was suspended by the club for an alleged Covid-19 breach, while his time in England has also been marred by the unacceptable abuse he regularly receives. The fact that he has now been left out of the Potters’ pre-season squad does not bode well for his future.

2. Robbie Brady

The 29-year-old Dubliner has been released by Burnley after a couple of seasons that were badly hampered by a mixture of injuries and indifferent form. Over the last few months, Southampton, Watford, Celtic and Crystal Palace have been among the clubs linked with the free agent’s signature.

3. Jamie McGrath

The majority of players mentioned on this list are more likely to drop down rather than up a level, but that is certainly not the case with Jamie McGrath. The former Dundalk star scored 17 goals from midfield for St Mirren, and as a consequence, “some serious clubs” have shown an interest in the player, who recently made his international debut under Stephen Kenny.

4. Shane Duffy

The 29-year-old defender had a disappointing loan spell at Celtic last season, and the centre-back publicly acknowledged his below-par performances. Seemingly surplus to requirements at Brighton, he will almost certainly look to make a loan or permanent move this season. Last January, there was talk of a potential reunion with ex-Brighton boss Chris Hughton at Nottingham Forest in the Championship, and that could be one potential destination for Duffy this summer.

5. Michael Obafemi

Still only 21 and with a senior cap to his name, it feels like a pivotal season for Obafemi. The Dublin-born striker almost moved to Swansea last January, but a muscle injury that would keep him out of action for a large part of last season saw that transfer collapse. The youngster has been linked with a move to Championship side Blackburn in recent days, as he seeks some much-needed regular first-team football, having made just five appearances for the Saints in the last campaign.

6. Conor Hourihane

It’s hard to see a way back into the Villa starting XI for the Bandon native, with Dean Smith’s side excelling without him in the team for much of last season. Hourihane had an encouraging loan spell at Swansea from January onwards, scoring five times for the Welsh club during that period. However, their failure to secure promotion to the Premier League may have affected the 30-year-old’s chances of earning a permanent move there. Hourihane has just one year left on his current Villa deal, with the club reportedly willing to listen to offers for the out-of-favour player.

7. Jayson Molumby

After a really promising 2019-20 season, last year felt like somewhat of a step backwards. Having enjoyed an impressive loan spell at Millwall, making 40 appearances in all competitions, Molumby would have returned to Brighton full of confidence. However, he made just one Premier League appearance off the bench for the Seagulls in the first half of last season, before going on loan to Preston, where he was in and out of the team, with many of his 15 Championship appearances coming from the bench. 

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8. Shane Long

The 34-year-old’s current Southampton deal is due to expire next year. He spent the second half of last season on loan at Bournemouth, scoring two goals in 12 league appearances. According to British media reports, the Tipperary native is likely to move on this summer, with more than one Championship club understood to be interested.

9. Troy Parrott

The 19-year-old has shown glimpses of his potential of late, notably scoring twice in Ireland’s recent 4-1 win over Andorra, though he only matched that tally at club level in 33 appearances, playing initially with Millwall in the Championship and then Ipswich in League One. Even with Harry Kane’s future in doubt, a breakthrough at Tottenham anytime soon appears unlikely, so Parrott will surely seek another loan move as he continues to adapt to senior football.

10. James McCarthy

McCarthy continues to struggle with injury problems and played just 16 times in the English top-flight before being released by Crystal Palace at the end of last season. Whether he will ever get back to the type of form he showed at his best playing for Wigan and Everton remains to be seen, but it seems likely he will need to move away from the Premier League if he is to rejuvenate his career. Born in Glasgow, the 30-year-old has been regularly linked with Celtic in recent times, and that move may finally materialise in the coming weeks.

11. Adam Idah

With Norwich likely to spend another season battling to stay up in the Premier League and Finland international Teemu Pukki still their main man in attack, it seems hard to believe the 20-year-old Cork-born forward can expect anything more than a peripheral first-team role. Despite signing a new long-term contract last December, Idah may seek a loan move with Stoke one of the Championship clubs reportedly interested in the youngster.

12. Mark Travers

It was a frustrating season last year for the 21-year-old. He made eight appearances on loan at League One side Swindon Town, but an injury to Asmir Begovic prompted Bournemouth to recall the goalkeeper early, though he still could not find a way into the Cherries’ first team. He had a disappointing competitive Ireland debut amid a 3-2 loss to Serbia, where he will feel he should have done better for at least one of the goals, and has since fallen down the pecking order at international level, with Darren Randolph, Gavin Bazunu and Caoimhin Kelleher all now ostensibly ahead of him in the pecking order. Nonetheless, a consistent run of games at senior level would surely improve his chances under Stephen Kenny.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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