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Five Ireland Players Linked With January Moves

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Robbie Brady of Norwich City during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Everton at Carrow Road stadium on December 12, 2015 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

With the January transfer window less than a week away, a number of Ireland players will come under the spotlight. While some will be looking to move up divisions, others will be looking for a route out of their clubs for more game time. Here is a list of players linked with moves in recent weeks.

Conor Hourihane

Conor Hourihane has enjoyed a successful start to life in the Championship. The Barnsley captain has an incredible ten assists already this season along with three goals. His form has resulted in inclusion in provisional Ireland squads but the Bandon native has yet to make the final cut.

The Daily Mail reported that Aston Villa and Celtic have shown an interest in the midfielder with Rangers also keen for his signature. His performances have also drawn Premier League attention and with his contract talks with Barnsley put on hold, Hourihane could find his dramatic rise from League 2 continue.

BARNSLEY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Conor Hourihane of Barnsley in action duriing during the EFL Cup match between Barnsley and Northampton Town at Oakwell Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Barnsley, England.  (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Darron Gibson

Just after the announcement of the Ireland squad for Euro 2016, some may have wondered would Darron Gibson have featured if he looked for a move away from Everton the previous January. What many people don’t realise is that Gibson has actually put in some very good performances when given a run for Everton and did enjoy a run of games towards the end of last season.

In fact, Gibson signed a new contract just last summer. However, injuries have yet again hampered the Derryman’s progress. Although highly regarded at Goodison Park, he may need to move on to salvage his career. Just like Aiden McGeady, a loan move could be the best resolution before revisiting his options in the summer.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12:  Darren Gibson of Everton during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Everton at Carrow Road stadium on December 12, 2015 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Alan Judge

Back in August, it was reported by the Irish Times that Alan Judge was due for a medial with Newcastle United. This seemed bizarre considering the Dubliner had sustained a horrific leg break that has kept him out of action ever since. Judge’s 14 goals and 12 assists last season drew an array of interest and with Newcastle looking for a quick top flight return, many believed Judge could be the man to get them over the line. With the Irish international back in full training and his contract set to expire in the summer, a move to Tyneside isn’t completely out of the question.

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19:  Alan Judge of Brentford celebrates scoring Brentford's 4th goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Huddersfield Town at Griffin Park on December 19, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Robbie Brady

If there was one Irish player many would have backed for a big move over the summer, it was probably Robbie Brady. The Baldoyle man has put speculation behind him to put all his energy into Norwich’s title push.

However, with the Canaries seven points off the play-offs, Brady surely deserves another shot in the Premier League.

Aston Villa are thought to be in hot pursuit. However despite Villa’s revival under Steve Bruce, they too look an outside bet for promotion. After back-to-back relegations, many will feel that Brady deserves a bigger move. With the lower half of the Premier League a likely destination, Brady may have to wait until the summer before a concrete offer is made.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25:  Hadi Sacko of Leeds United (L) is fouled by Robbie Brady of Norwich City (R) during the EFL Cup fourth round match between Leeds United and Norwich City at Elland Road on October 25, 2016 in Leeds, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Robbie Keane

Free agent Keane is now at a crossroads in his career and at 36 has indicated his willingness to play on. Following his five year stint in LA, a further stay in the MLS cold be an option with the Irish Sun reporting potential moves to new franchises Atlanta or Minnesota.

A move back home to Ireland has also been dismissed while offers from Australia seem to be further down Keane’s preference list.

With Jermaine Defoe still making waves in the Premier League at 34, some may wonder if Keane could give England one last crack. An intriguing move could be a stint at promotion-chasing Leeds, a club where Keane scored 13 league goals before departing for Tottenham. However the former Ireland captain seems to have grown fond of the lifestyle across the Atlantic, and will most likely prolong his career in the MLS for at least another season.

BORDEAUX, FRANCE - JUNE 18:  Radja Nainggolan of Belgium and Robbie Keane of Republic of Ireland compete for the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Belgium and Republic of Ireland at Stade Matmut Atlantique on June 18, 2016 in Bordeaux, France.  (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena

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Author: Nick Menezes

Nick is a soccer, GAA and rugby fanatic who has a worrying obsession with the Irish football team. His articles focus on Irish football and he also writes some light-hearted pieces, particularly quirky starting XIs.