According to RTE, Hull City are set to sign Cork City defender Sean McLoughlin this week after agreeing a fee.
It’s noted that new Hull boss Grant McCann wanted McLoughlin at Doncaster Rovers last season, and has rekindled his interest. Now, McLoughlin will put the finishing touches on his move to the KCOM Stadium.
The 22-year-old has emerged as one of the top young talents in the League of Ireland. He’s got great size at 6ft 3in, and as a left-footed defender, he can bring balance to a back four.
RTE’s report notes that Hull have won the race for McLoughlin, explaining Preston’s stance in the process. They claim that North End had wanted McLoughlin in January, but were put off by a €250,000 (£225,000) fee.
North End have strong ties with Cork after signing Alan Browne, Kevin O’Connor and Seani Maguire in recent years, but that help didn’t bring the price down. If Preston were really sold on McLoughlin, it’s hard to imagine £225,000 being a problem.
Preston allegedly rekindled the interest in McLoughlin earlier this summer, but seemingly ditched the move. After all, Patrick Bauer – another big, strong centre back – arrived in June, erasing the need for another centre back.
Alex Neil has Bauer, Ben Davies, Jordan Storey, Tom Clarke and Paul Huntington at his disposal, so McLoughlin isn’t needed. One thing to note though is that Neil loves using Davies because he’s left-footed, and we don’t have another left-footed centre back.
If Huntington had moved on, we may have seen a move for McLoughlin as cover for Davies. He could have even been a name on the list in case Davies – whose contract expires in two years – moves on, as a left-footed successor would be needed.
Instead, he’ll seemingly face North End this season as a Hull player, and Preston have to hope they don’t regret snubbing a low-cost move for the young defender.