With the January transfer window fast approaching it could be an opportunity for many Irish stars to make a fresh start.
It has been a terrifying season in terms of Irish participation in the Premier League despite the likes of Shane Duffy and Jeff Hendrick standing out on the domestic front. January could see a further Irish exodus from the Premier League, and even the Championship.
Here we examine five Ireland internationals who could be on the move this winter.
5. David Meyler
The Hull City man captained his country in their last several outings but his form domestically has been inconsistent. Has been in and out of the Hull squad and when included has performed below par compared to his international exploits.
With Nigel Adkins taking over at Hull, Meyler could find a new lease of life but a move away from the struggling Tigers could be the best for both parties. His last few games for Ireland has shown his talent as an imposing holding midfielder and his lack of game time at Hull could have other clubs monitoring his position.
4. James McCarthy
Could be another to benefit from a managerial exit, but James McCarthy’s injury woes have seen him fall down the pecking order despite his consistency for the club in recent years. In a role reversal of Meyler, his international career has left a lot to be desired but he has done relatively well during his four years at Goodison Park despite all his setbacks.
Has hit his late 20s and needs to progress in his career. Despite his lack of game time in the last year, he still possesses plenty of talent and could attract Premier League interest.
3. Shane Long
A player backed for both club and country despite an atrocious goalscoring return of late. This makes it debatable as to whether or not Long actually requires a move. His career has stalled since Ronald Koeman departed Southampton, although he has featured regularly this season. However, as a striker, goals should be a key aspect of his game and with his link up play failing to set the world alight it may be time for Long to move on.
The Tipperary man has thrived in the Championship in the past and for Ireland’s sake a drop down a division and an opportunity to put a run of goals together would do him the world of good, even if this is on loan. That said it would be great to see him hit some consistency with the Saints in the near future given the opportunities he is being afforded.
2. Daryl Horgan
Despite a promising start to his Preston career, Daryl Horgan has slipped off the radar under Alex Neil. It seems mysterious given his form during the second half of last season and his undoubted ability. Horgan has been kept out by fellow Irishman Sean Maguire on the right wing and has only recently been reintroduced to the match day squad.
It could be a case that the winger does not see eye to eye with Neil and a loan spell could help him pick back up the momentum he lost following his mysterious dropping. The former Dundalk man has proven he is good enough for the Championship and could attract interest from around the division.
1. Jonny Hayes
There was plenty of excitement when Jonny Hayes joined Celtic in the summer, making him Ireland’s only potential representative in the Champions League this season. However, like many Irishmen before him, the move has simply not worked out. It seemed Hayes was signed as a ‘weekend player’ to take the pressure off Brendan Rodgers’ wingers on the domestic front.
Unfortunately, the winger has failed to make the bench in the Scottish Premiership on several occasions, begging the question of his value in the squad. Had the opportunity to join Cardiff in the summer and with the Welsh side flying high in the Championship, a move there could offer the potential for Premier League football next season. A late bloomer, Hayes has bags of pace and skill despite now being 30.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena