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Wigan’s McClean and McCarthy – heading in opposite directions?

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The Latics look set to seal a deal for Sunderland’s James McClean, but could lose James McCarthy to a Premier League club.

Wigan started their bid to win promotion back to the Premier League strongly last Saturday, winning 4-0 away to Barnsley in their game in the Championship season. Owen Coyle will look to get the Latics straight back to the top flight of English football, but the team’s ability to do so will be impacted by the fate of two Irishmen called James – McClean and McCarthy.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has confirmed that the club are in the process of trying to sign Sunderland winger James McClean.

“We have got to have discussions with his agent but we have agreed a fee with Sunderland and the lad is here talking to us now," Whelan told Sky Sports News.

"I am sure there is interest in two or three of our players but we want to keep them all. I have told the lads that and the boss is with me and we want to keep everything we have got.

"But I have promised the players that if a big club comes in for them, I will not stand in their way and if we get the right deal, we will allow them to go.

"At present we are managing to hold onto everybody and we are just in the process of signing another new player (McClean)."

McClean looks to have been frozen out at the Stadium of Light following Paulo Di Canio’s appointment as manager, and the subsequent wave of new signings that have joined the club this summer.

Although McClean suffered an inconsistent and frustrating campaign last term, his debut season at Sunderland following a move from Derry City showed his considerable ability. The wideman burst onto the scene under Martin O’Neill, scoring five goals in his first season in England and proving a real threat to opposition full-backs.

If Wigan can get McClean back to his best he could be a real attacking asset for the club in their attempts to win promotion.

McCarthy’s future remains to be seen. The Scottish-born midfielder was one of the bright lights of Wigan’s FA Cup success last season, and the 22-year-old has not looked out of place in the Premier League since joining from Hamilton Accies in 2009.

Owen Coyle has recently stated that he will not stand in the way of a top-six club if they come in for McCarthy, but it appears that Newcastle are the team most being linked for a move for the Republic of Ireland midfielder.

McCarthy is more than good enough to play in the Premier League, and would be an excellent signing for Alan Pardew’s men. Although McCarthy featured for Wigan in their opening day win, and the club say they don’t have to sell, the likelihood is that the prodigious young midfielder will leave the DW Stadium before the window closes, to Newcastle or another top-flight club.

Wigan fans will hope that McClean’s acquisition will go some way to softening the blow of McCarthy’s potential departure, and that the new man will help fire the club back to the Premier League.

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