Damien Duff to Shamrock Rovers (Free)
The former Chelsea midfielder has joined League of Ireland club Shamrock Rovers on a free transfer following his release from Melbourne City. Duff joins the team he began his career with and will undoubtedly be a huge attraction for the League of Ireland. He has signed an 18 month contract and Duff claims that he is not at Rovers “to wind down his career as a player,” he wants to make a positive contribution to the team and push to win the League. Duff won 100 caps for the Republic of Ireland and the former Blackburn, Newcastle, Fulham man won the Premier League twice with Chelsea. The 36 year old will definitely be a big draw for the League of Ireland and I’m sure Shamrock Rovers gate receipts will look slightly more healthy now that the Irish legend has joined the club.
Shay Given to Stoke (Free)
Stoke City have signed Shay Given on a free transfer from Aston Villa. The veteran goalkeeper will provide cover for Asmir Begovic and Jack Butland. Begovic himself has been heavily linked with a move away from the Britania and looks likely to leave the club this summer. Given, who has re-established himself as Ireland’s number 1 will be hoping to prove he is still a top quality goalkeeper and keep England u21 international, Butland, out of the starting 11. Mark Hughes brought Given to Manchester City from Newcastle in 2009 and Given went on to make 69 appearances for the club.
With only 12 months remaining on his contract, Ciaran Clark’s future is very much in doubt at the moment. West Brom have apparently enquired about the centre half, but Tim Sherwood will be keen to get the Irish international to extend his contract after a number of impressive displays at the beginning of Sherwood’s reign. A knee injury caused Clark to miss the last few months of the season but with Villa likely to lose Ron Vlaar, they are short on options at the back. Despite Clark’s 10 bookings and 1 red card last season, Sherwood has been full of praise for the 25 year old defender. His tenacity and aggression was missed while he was injured and Villa have been short on leaders on the pitch. Although the prospect of losing Clark on a free transfer next summer may prove to be enough to persuade the club to part ways with him if a new contract cannot be agreed.
Mick McCarthy will have plenty of interest in last season’s Championship Top-scorer. The Dubliner has been linked with several clubs and McCarthy has reiterated his point that Murphy will not be allowed to leave the club. McCarthy has already rejected a £4mil offer from Middlesbrough for the powerful striker and the Ipswich Star newspaper claim that that McCarthy has rejected a “ridiculous” loan offer from Sheffield Wednesday. McCarthy doesn’t want to lose the striker and has made it clear that the clubs star player definitely won’t be allowed to leave on loan.
James McCarthy continues to be linked with a move away from Everton this summer and there looks to be a number of clubs taking an interest in the Scottish -born Republic of Ireland international. On the 15th July the Daily Express linked the midfielder with a move to Manchester city following their failed attempt to sign Fabian Delph from Villa earlier this week. Tottenham have also been linked with the player and Everton are believed to value McCarthy at around £20mil. Roberto Martinez has stated in the press that McCarthy is not for sale.
Another Everton player linked with a move away from the club is Aiden McGeady. Celtic, McGeady’s former club have been linked with the winger and Roberto Martinez has denied that he is available for transfer. Celtic are looking to strengthen further following their capture of striker Nadir Ciftci from Dundee United. With Gerard Deulofeu having arrived at Goodison on a permanent deal from Barcelona, McGeady’s stake for a claim in the first team may be in jeopardy. Perhaps McGeady would welcome the opportunity to return to his boyhood club and play in the Champions League again.
The injury prone midfielder is coming into the final year of his contract at Everton but it has been rumoured that Roberto Martinez is keen to extend the players current deal. The former Manchester United man has had terrible luck with injuries and has never really gotten the opportunity to prove his worth with the Toffees. The 27 year old has played only 57 times in 4 seasons with Everton and has only featured 16 times in all competitions for the last 2 years. If he is offered a new deal it may be his final chance to revitalise his Premier League career.