Monday 19 February 2018

Some of Ireland's biggest names will move in the January transfer window...where will they go?

Harry Arter could be on his way to West Ham
Harry Arter could be on his way to West Ham
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

The January sales have been a busy time for string of players from this country - and that trend looks set to continue in the first month of 2018.

Robbie Brady got his move from Hull to Norwich when the window opened in the New Year of 2013, Shane Long’s second-last move (from West Brom to Hull) came in January 2014, and the last big deal of Robbie Keane’s transfer career was made in January 2009, his £12million move back to Spurs from Liverpool.

Those deals all involved big figures and big fees which made the players’ agent very happy but while a number of current players are hoping to make something happen when the transfer window opens in the New Year, we can’t expect big money to change hands.

Players from Ireland are not in the same kind of demand as in the past so deals like those involving Keane or Long are unlikely to happen.

Irish players could still move in the next window, some of them do need to move, but loans, free transfers or smaller deals are likely to be the theme of the month.

There is already talk of a big-money deal to take Harry Arter away from Bournemouth, to West Ham.

Arter (27) has been a key figure in the success story for the Cherries and, having been there since 2010, is one of their longest-serving players. But this season has been a struggle and earlier this month, boss Eddie Howe admitted that Arter was still suffering from the after-effects of Ireland’s World Cup loss to Denmark.

Arter has been in and out of the Bournemouth team in recent weeks and while Howe is not desperate to sell, the club might be tempted if the interest from West Ham is real and is backed up by a decent cash offer, though reports of a £14m bid look suspicious.

Another Irish midfielder who has put in a few years of service is James McCarthy (below), who joined Everton back in 2013. The last year has been a nightmare for the player and, at 27, he’s now at a key phase of his career.

PANews_P-956b87cc-5d05-49af-86d1-8814ab0fbd5b_I1.jpg
James McCarthy has endured a miserable 2017

His face did not fit at Goodison Park under the Ronald Koeman regime and McCarthy was often caught in the crossfire between Koeman and Martin O’Neill, the pair clashing regularly over the issue of player fitness.

Koeman has moved on but new boss Sam Allardyce has seen little of McCarthy, and while McCarthy is under contract until 2020, a move could suit the player and the club. Injury has prevented Jon Walters from proving to Burnley fans that he was a good signing last summer, and Clarets boss Sean Dyche last month poured cold water on the idea of Walters leaving the club on loan, saying that was “speculation”.

To prove his point, Dyche brought Walters on a substitute for the remaining 15 minutes of the Burnley’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on St Stephen’s Day.

Shane Long has moved regularly in his career and despite a lack of goals for Southampton, there’s little need for him to leave that club in this window, as Long - when fit - has been given some decent spells of game time, despite the lack of goals.

It’s the fringe men who are more likely to find themselves on the move in the coming weeks.

There are two Dundalk players on the move as David McMillan (St Johnstone) and Patrick McEleney (Oldham) are UK-bound around about now, but one ex-Dundalk man needs a move to get his career going.

Richie Towell, on loan to League One side Rotherham United recently, signed a new deal with Brighton only a few months ago, securing his future with the Seagulls until 2019, but the prospects for Towell there look bleak and, at 26, he can’t afford to stand still.

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