The Cutter understands that Martin O’Neill is lining up fellow Irishman Aiden McGeady and is hoping that following a disappointing Euro campaign for the flying winger a bargain fee could be wrangled. Sunderland have been monitoring McGeady for some time and were encouraged by a recent admission from the player that he had no intention of remaining at Spartak Moscow beyond his current contract that runs until 2014. That has forced Spartak’s hand in moving on the ex-Celtic prodigy who they signed for £9.5m in August 2010. A public bust-up with coach Oleg Romantsev has also precipitated a premature home-coming for a player who was voted the second best winger in the Russian Premier League last term.
The Russian club will be expecting to recoup a sizable percentage of their outlay but were hoping the 26 year old would impress in Poland against the likes of Arbeloa and Maggio and lure in other suitors. Unfortunately, though he started all three games, McGeady failed to impress and was substituted early in two of them.
O’Neill however knows exactly how to get the best out of the frustratingly hot and cold player having worked with him closely at Celtic Park where he played some of his most scintillating football. The Sunderland boss has made no secret of his admiration for McGeady and the two enjoyed a good relationship. Additionally the north-east would be a preferred destination for the player with it being close enough to family in Glasgow who he misses.
Until last week the move was merely one of many possibilities O’Neill had lined up to pep up an under-performing attack line.
With the imminent departure of Stephane Sessegnon however interest has now accelerated to the point where a firm bid could be made prior to pre-season.
The Sunderland boss has done all he can to retain Sessegnon who has been a revelation since his switch last summer from PSG but despite issuing an irritated ‘hands off’ warning to Spurs and Arsenal the player seems destined to leave Wearside.
On Monday a bookmaker suspended all betting on the move to White Hart Lane whilst the Gunners have not yet given up hope of snatching the exciting 28 year old with persistent rumours that the Beninese striker has failed to settle in the north-east.
Though both players are hardly like-for-like – with Sessegnon more of a roaming playmaker/second striker whilst McGeady prefers to hog the touchline – O’Neill believes that his former charge can adapt to a more central role and cause mayhem for Premier League defences. A fee of £8m would mean there would still be cash in the kitty from the hefty sale of Sessegnon to pursue another twinkle-toed target Adam Johnson from Manchester City.