Premier League sides Chelsea and Everton were reportedly both interested in West Brom attacker James McClean back in 2011, former Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has revealed.
The Republic of Ireland winger was playing for Derry City at the time and ended up moving to the Stadium of Light back in 2011.
This would’ve been a very awkward fit… https://t.co/ZGMKL8UXuM
— SportsJOE.ie (@SportsJOEdotie) October 12, 2016
Since then McClean has moved on to play for both Wigan Athletic and West Brom in the Premier League, but his journey could well have been considerably different.
Former Sunderland scout Pop Robson was the man to unearth the gifted attacker during his younger days and recommended the Irishman to the Black Cats.
However, Quinn has revealed that Chelsea and Everton were both monitoring McClean’s progress but opted against making a move for the wideman.
“Pop left his scouting job at Chelsea, wanting to get back up to his family and his roots in Hexham,” Quinn told Joe.ie.
“Steve Bruce and I gave him the job as chief scout. Pop came in on the first day and said, ‘Listen, there is a bargain out there that we were recommended to come and watch when I was at Chelsea. A lad called James McClean at Derry City’.
“Given the structure at Chelsea and James’s age [McClean was 22 at the time], Chelsea had decided not to pursue the transfer.
“There were a few other clubs looking at James that summer, including Everton.”
McClean has proven himself as an able operator in the Premier League and contributes goals and assists for the Baggies on a relatively frequent basis.
However, the Ireland international’s temperament and off-field behaviour has also landed him in hot water in the past.