Premiership

Martin O’Neill looking for Irish attacking partnership

Reports are suggesting that Martin O’Neill wants to partner Aiden McGeady with James McLean on more than just the international level and is looking into bringing the Irishman to Sunderland.

The Spartak Moscow winger came on in the international friendly to assist in the Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina, lining up in attack alongside McLean.

The game was McLean’s first senior start for his international side and could mark the beginning of a long relationship between the two.

McGeady is known to have had a controversial time in Russia and has stated that he will not be extending his contract past its expiration date in 2014 as he seeks a move away.

Rather than let their player leave on a free transfer, Spartak may consider selling the 26-year-old now and receive a fee for their troubles.

Sunderland had a major shortage in attack last season and could have found themselves finishing even further down the table were it not for the emergence of McLean who quickly established himself as the first-choice left winger.

However, the choice wasn’t as simple on the other side of the pitch and duties were switched between Stephane Sessegnon, Sebastian Larsson and Craig Gardner as well as others.

If McGeady were to come back to Britain, he would be expected to command a transfer fee of around £8m, slightly less than the £9.5m fee for which he moved to the Russian capital in the first place.

Both McGeady and McLean are set to travel to Euro 2012 with the Republic of Ireland squad where they wil attempt to topple some of Europe’s biggest sides; their first challenges of which will be Croatia, Spain and Italy, not an easy task by any means.

O’Neill previously worked with McGeady during their time at Celtic together and is understood to be a big fan of the trickster and the summer transfer window may see the duo reunited once more.

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