Nottingham Forest have been linked with a potential move for Stoke City winger James McClean, according to Football Insider.
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks at the City Ground after Aitor Karanka was replaced by Martin O’Neill.
The Northern Irishman got off to a disappointing start as the Reds fell to a 1-0 defeat against Bristol City.
O’Neill will now be looking to bolster his squad before the end of the month, with 29-year-old McClean the latest to be linked with a move to the club by Football Insider.
It remains to be seen whether McClean does switch Stoke-on-Trent for Nottinghamshire.
In the meantime, Seat Pitch has taken a look at the pros and cons of any potential deal.
So what makes this a potentially good deal for the Reds?
First of all, McClean is arguably better than O’Neill’s current wide options. He offers more going forward than the likes of Ben Osborn, Gil Dias and Diogo Gonçalves have so far this season. His arrival would also take some pressure off Joe Lolley who appears to be completely shot of confidence.
Matty Cash was utilised on the left-hand side in O’Neill’s first game, but offered very little and was eventually substituted for Dias in the second-half.
Secondly, you can’t argue with McClean’s record at this level. He has already picked up six assists so far, just as many as João Carvalho and only one less than Lolley. He certainly knows how to cross a ball and would provide better service to both Daryl Murphy and Lewis Grabban.
If O’Neill does decide to stick with a 4-4-2 formation, then McClean is well-suited to playing on the left-hand side.
McClean’s previous working relationship with O’Neill also makes this seem a sensible deal. The Nottingham Post have reported that the winger “would jump at the chance to work with O’Neill again.”
His high work rate and energy levels make it easy to see why he is highly-rated by Forest’s new boss.
But there’s always cons to any deal, so what reasons are there to potentially avoid this transfer?
The reaction from a number of supporters following the reports linking the Reds with the winger is an immediate concern. It’s difficult for any player to settle if a number of the club’s supporters are against them before they’ve even had a kick.
Despite explaining his reasoning behind it on numerous occasions, McClean is criticised by many for his ongoing refusal to wear the symbol of the remembrance poppy on his shirt around Remembrance Day.
This has seen him booed at matches, including when he visited the City Ground back in November.
If this deal was looked at purely in a footballing sense, there aren’t many Reds supporters who would turn their nose up at a move for McClean.
However, the other potential con is the money involved in any potential deal.
McClean only joined Stoke in the summer from West Brom in a deal worth around £5 million.
It is likely that the Potters would want to recoup most of that back if they were to sell.
Together with McClean’s high wages, it would be an expensive acquisition for the Reds which may be unwise after a summer of heaving spending.
After the arrival of Yohan Benalouane on Friday, it remains to be seen how many more additions O’Neill will make.
But a potential move for McClean certainly wouldn’t be as bad as some are making out.