With the January transfer window in full swing, there are many Irish players who already have or are attempting to get a move by the end of the window.
Kevin Zefi and Conor Coventry are among the most notable of the Irish contingent to have switched clubs so far this month, to Roma and Charlton respectively.
There are many players in the Irish senior national team pool who have been subject to limited minutes this season, here are three players who need a change in scenery the most:
Once one of Ireland’s most prized talents, Michael Obafemi’s career trajectory has been very much stop start over the past number of years. After joining Swansea in 2021, his good form in Wales would prompt an Ireland recall the following year. Obafemi would become one of our most important players in 2022, as his goals and performances helped Stephen Kenny’s side survive in UEFA Nations League B. The 23-year-old got his long-awaited move to Burnley in January last year but has made just 16 appearances for the Clarets ever since. Obafemi’s lack of gametime and injury problems, resulted in his omission from the Ireland senior squad on the past three occasions, making him one of the main Irish players who desperately need a move this month. Swapping the bright lights of the Premier League for the Championship or elsewhere certainly won’t be appealing to the Dubliner, but such a move is a necessity if he wishes to be in the Irish men’s national team picture this year.
Since making his senior international debut in 2021, Andrew Omobamidele has been a mainstay in Ireland squads ever since, albeit failing to nail down a starting berth due to the sheer number of quality options in his position. After consolidating his starting place at Norwich last season, making 34 league appearances in the process, Omobamidele was tipped for a big move last summer. The Leixlip native joined Premier League side Nottingham Forest for a fee of €12.85 million on deadline day, but is still yet to make his debut for Forest. At just 21 years of age, Omobamidele still has his whole career ahead of him, but the talented centre half must get at least a loan move to the Championship or abroad preferably if he wishes to displace any of Ireland’s current starting centre half’s.
The Celtic academy graduate has by far made the most appearances out of anyone on this list and has enjoyed a decent season so far. Johnston has scored twice and registered a single assist in ten appearances for the Scottish Champions, and among Liam Scales he remains as one of the only Irish players to have started in the UEFA Champions League this season. Injuries and the poor form of new signings out wide for Celtic prompted Brendan Rodgers to turn to Johnston, who he regards as “arguably the most talented player” to come out of Celtic’s academy system. Ten appearances in the first half of the season is certainly not a disaster and would make one question why Johnston is on this list, but the return from injury of wingers Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda, along with the imminent signing of another winger in Nicholas Kuhn, means the Irish international will struggle for gametime in the second half of the season. Amid inconsistent performances and a freight relationship with Celtic fans, a move away from his boyhood club seems the best-case scenario for all involved.