Michael O’Neill has reacted to speculation that James McClean is a transfer target for Celtic.
The Irishman has regularly been linked with a move to Celtic down the years and has made no secret of his support for the hoops.
Greg Taylor and Moi Elyounoussi are the only left-sided options at the club with neither looking comfortable in the wing-back role.
McClean has played that role regularly after starting off as a winger with the Rumour Mill putting two and two together after he was missing from the Stoke side that played against Bristol City on Sunday.
Covering O’Neill’s media conference today, Stoke on Trent Live reports:
The 31-year-old has subsequently been linked on social media with a move to Celtic, the club he supports – and although that may not have much substance, Financial Fair Play rules mean that pretty much all Stoke players are available at the right price this window.
O’Neill said: “I think that’s probably just a rumour that’s been created by someone – and it certainly hasn’t come from our end. James isn’t a player, equally, that we are looking to lose at this minute in time.
“The nature of the transfer window is such that you have to be flexible and if any situation arises with any player you have to give it consideration, particularly where we are at this minute in time.
“We have to obviously deal with the rules of Financial Fair Play and deal with too a squad which is bloated. James is no different from any other player in the squad and if the situation arose we’d have to consider it but at this minute in time, I think that would be highly unlikely.”
Boli Bolingoli started last season as Celtic’s left-back but once the team switched to a 3-5-2 the left sided role was filled by Taylor and Jonny Hayes.
With Hayes and Bolingoli moved on it would seem that that area of the park is the most likely to be strengthened before the transfer window closes on October 5.