James McClean. I love that guy. I think the courage he shows in standing up to his detractors – and he has many, but none because of his ability – is tremendous. He wears it all out there, heart on sleeve, and doesn’t care who doesn’t like it.
It’s hard not to like someone like that, hard not to admire him.
James has never hidden his affection for Celtic. He has never been shy about saying that he would love to play for our club. The question is, would we go for him? Would we want him? Could we, if we did, actually afford him?
This is one I’ll be interested to hear the answers to.
James is currently at West Brom, the third English side he’s played for since he moved there after his storming time at Derry City, his hometown club. He is a Premier League player; he has played more than 70 times for his current club and well over 150 in the top flight. That, alone, suggests that there’s more to him than just hype.
He has a contract there until 2019; West Brom would not be easy to deal with. Nor would he come cheap. He played more than 30 times for them last season and is viewed as an essential member of their squad. He has over 50 caps for Ireland now too.
In other words, we’re talking here about a full international and an established EPL footballer. I dread to think what his current salary is, although it’s pretty clear he would see a move to Celtic Park as being more about love than about the money.
The sticking point, then, would be the transfer fee … and if we were going to pay a heavy one, who would want us to? Is he better than what we have at the moment? If it was a choice between him and Roberts, for example, the choice would appear to be an easy one.
Like I said, I’ll be interested to see what responses I get here. One thing is clear; there are players who you can honestly say would run through walls for the cause, for the jersey, and James McClean has done that everywhere … but at Celtic? Oh Hell yeah.
Worth a punt?