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McClean's Sunderland exit could lead to fresh move for Greek winger
SUNDERLAND are considering a renewed attempt to land Greek winger Charas Mavrias after giving James McClean the go-ahead to move to Wigan Athletic.
McClean was in Lancashire last night – while Sunderland won a pre-season friendly in Denmark 1-0 against FC Midtjylland - to complete a move to the DW Stadium after the Black Cats accepted an offer of around £1.5m for the Republic of Ireland international.
And after no late hiccups over personal terms and a medical, the 24-year-old confirmed his switch to one of the Championship’s promotion contenders on Twitter last night.
McClean tweeted: "A lot of great people at Sunderland football club esp (sic) the players great bunch that I will miss. had a great time despite few lows." And the deal will leave Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio contemplating whether it is the right time to push through a deal for Mavrias.
On two separate occasions this summer the Black Cats have asked Panathinaikos to delay a deal for the Greece international despite agreeing a fee.
Panathinaikos became annoyed with the situation and told Sunderland to forget the deal so that they could make alternative plans in the hope of giving their financial problems a boost.
But Mavrias has remained in Sunderland’s sights and now the McClean deal has gone through another signing to provide a different wing option would come in handy before the start of the new campaign.
Sunderland had agreed with Panathinaikos to pay an initial £1.25m and then a further £1.25m in the future depending on appearances. There has been a reluctance from Wearside to do the deal until a winger had departed.
And Wigan chairman Dave Whelan confirmed last night McClean was close to leaving Sunderland, who he joined from Derry City in August 2011 for £350,000.
“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 said yesterday afternoon.
“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. At present we are managing to hold onto everybody and we are just in the process of signing another new player (McClean).”
McClean’s time on Wearside was shrouded in controversy. He opted not to wear a poppy on his shirt during a game against Everton which fell on Remembrance weekend, while he was often outspoken on Twitter and the club told him to stop using the social networking site.
The left-winger was left behind when Sunderland travelled to Denmark for last night’s final friendly of the summer with FC Midtjylland.
New £6m striker Jozy Altidore was heavily involved in the only goal of the game when he teed up Adam Johnson for the winner in front of 150 travelling supporters at the MCH Arena.
Johnson’s goal, a fine strike, will have heartened Di Canio, who once again used him as a three-man supply line behind Altidore along with Stephane Sessegnon and Emanuele Giaccherini.
Sunderland made a number of chances against Danish Superliga opposition, but there was also some fine saves from goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who hopes to keep his place ahead of Vito Mannone before the Premier League opener with Fulham a week tomorrow.
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Westwood; Cuellar, Roberge (Diakite 71), O'Shea, Colback (Gardner 74); Cabral (Ba 62), Larsson; Johnson (Moberg Karlsson 71), Sessegnon, Giaccherini (Mandron 86); Altidore (Wickham 65). Subs (not used): Vaughan, Mannone.
Midtjylland: Lossl (Haugaard 60), Juelsgard (Lauridsen 60), Olsen (Nattested 60), Sviatchenko (Romer 60), Larsen (Gemmer 60), Kristensen (Onuachu 60), Banggaard (Moller 60), Sisto (Oliseh 60), Bak Nielsen (Odeyemi 60), Uzochukwu (Ashiru 40), Igboun (Owolagi 60). Subs (not used): Solgaard, R Lauridsen.
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