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Dublin: 9°C Friday 26 February 2021

These Irish players need moves before the transfer window shuts

Jack Byrne is among the list of footballers we feel would benefit from a transfer this month.

WITH JUST NINE day until the current transfer window closes across the water, we take a look at the Irishmen who could do with finding new clubs…

James McCarthy

For some time it has appeared that Everton manager Ronald Koeman doesn’t see James McCarthy in his long-term plans.

The midfielder, who has been at the centre of a club v country row between the Toffees boss and Ireland’s management team in the past, was rarely first choice last season — although he did miss large chunks of the campaign with injuries.

Everton v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League - Goodison Park McCarthy is surplus to requirements at Everton. Source: Martin Rickett

Having already brought in the likes of Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin over the past 12 months, Everton further strengthened their midfield options this summer with the arrival of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen. To add to that, they’ve also got Tom Davies and Muhamed Besic, while the returning Wayne Rooney could fill in there too if needed.

26-year-old McCarthy has been linked with Newcastle United and Celtic in the past but the knee injury that kept him out of the Premier League opener won’t have helped his prospects of moving before 31 August.

Shane Long

While Shane Long made 32 Premier League appearances for Southampton last term, 22 of those were off the bench meaning he started just 10. In the meantime, Claude Puel has departed with Argentine coach Mauricio Pellegrino taking his place.

Long is competing with Manolo Gabbiadini and Charlie Austin for that lone striker’s role in a 4-2-3-1 and the signs didn’t look good when he was an unused substitute in the opening day 0-0 draw with Swansea.

Southampton v West Ham United - Premier League - St Marys Long with West Ham's Pedro Obiang last weekend. Source: Adam Davy

Long did get 10 minutes at the end of Saturday’s victory over West Ham but, at 30, you would like to see him first choice at a club. Burnley, who already boast five Ireland international on their books, were reportedly after his signature and a switch to Turf Moor could’ve prove beneficial for player and the Boys in Green.

However, today’s news that the Clarets have paid £15 million for Leeds United’s Chris Woods has more than likely killed off any chance of that happening.

Richie Towell

Brighton surprised a few (including the player himself) when they handed Richie Towell a contract extension back in May. After arriving from Dundalk in January 2016, the midfielder only made two appearances between then and the end of his first season for the Championship outfit.

An injury ruled him out of the opening months of last term and he had to make do with U23 football — managing just one cameo off the bench in the league as the Seagulls claimed promotion to the Premier League.

Lincoln City v Brighton and Hove Albion - Emirates FA Cup - Fourth Round - Sincil Bank Towell playing for Brighton in the FA Cup last season. Source: Mike Egerton

Expecting to be on the move this summer, Towell was instead handed a new deal and manager Chris Hughton revealed that he would be sent on loan to gain first-team experience.

However, with the Football League and the Premier League all up-and-running once again, the 26-year-old has yet to find a club.

Jack Byrne

It’s 18 months since Jack Byrne was handed his first opportunity to train with Ireland’s senior squad by Martin O’Neill. Supremely confident in his own ability, the midfielder spoke about how he believed he could “affect games” wherever he played.

At that stage, the Dubliner was on loan with Dutch club SC Cambuur, having impressed in Manchester City’s youth teams. However, his career since then certainly hasn’t gone to plan.

Jack Byrne Wigan Byrne hasn't featured at all this season. Source: Twitter/Jackb_8

A year ago, he was loaned to Blackburn Rovers for the season but only lasted until January, when the deal was cut short. After appearing in the first four Championship games of the campaign for Rovers, he didn’t feature again in the league.

Byrne then joined fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic in February and made two first team appearances as they were relegated to League One. Still only 21, he finds himself out of favour with new Latics boss Paul Cook, who has removed the midfielder from the senior squad and made him available for transfer.

Stephen Quinn

Former Sheffield United and Hull City midfielder Stephen Quinn joined Reading back in 2015 and enjoyed a solid first year with the Royals — featuring 33 times in all competitions.

But a knee injury picked up last September put the 31-year-old out for the remainder of the season and he now finds himself down the pecking order under manager Jaap Stam.

Arsenal v Reading - EFL Cup - Round of 16 - Emirates Stadium Quinn in action for the Royals. Source: EMPICS Sport

Despite being fully fit again, Quinn’s only game-time this term has come in the EFL Cup and Reading may be open to letting him leave before the window shuts.

Sean Kavanagh

Former Belvedere schoolboy Sean Kavanagh enjoyed a breakthrough season at Fulham in 2014/15  – when he made 19 league appearances.

However, in the two years that followed, the 23-year-old full-back struggled to build on that progress and he was loaned out to Mansfield and Hartlepool United.

Soccer - Pre Season Friendly - Fulham v Eintracht Frankfurt - ATV Irdning Kavanagh is back playing for Fulham's U23s. Source: EMPICS Sport

An ex-Ireland U21 international, Kavanagh is back playing with Fulham’s U23s but dropping down a division or two in order to get his development back on track would be worth serious consideration.

Darragh Lenihan

23-year-old Meath man Darragh Lenihan has been at Blackburn Rovers for his entire professional career and was part of the team that got demoted to England’s third tier last season.

However, the ex-Ireland U21 captain has attracted interest from newly-promoted Sheffield United, who have reportedly had three bids turned down.

Blackburn Rovers v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship - Ewood Park Lenihan lining out for Rovers last season. Source: EMPICS Sport

Just like fellow Irishman and Rovers club mate Derrick Williams, Lenihan is good enough to play in the Championship and we could yet see the Blades try one more time to secure his services as deadline day approaches.

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Ben Blake

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