The transfer options still open to Aiden McGeady and the FIFA rules that will dictate his Sunderland future
Aiden McGeady is set to leave Sunderland AFC in the coming days - but his options are narrowing as the transfer clock ticks down.
The winger has been exiled by Phil Parkinson, and is training with the Black Cats’ under-23 side having been told he is free to find a new club during the winter window.
But with just hours left until the transfer deadline, McGeady’s options look to be narrowing.
So where do Sunderland and the winger stand? We take a look:
A MOVE TO ENGLAND OR SCOTLAND
The most logical move for McGeady would be one to England or Scotland - both of whom see their respective transfer windows close at 11pm on Friday, January 31.
McGeady is known to be settled in the North East and, geographically, a move to Middlesbrough - who are understood to still be in the market for a winger this month - would be a good fit.
Jonathan Woodgate, however, seems to be favouring young, hungry players and there have been no concrete signs of interest in the wideman from Boro.
League One Blackpool have also been linked and that too would be a sensible move given McGeady’s relationship with Simon Grayson. The Seasiders have already shelled out some significant wages on Gary Madine, among others, this month and it would have to be questioned whether they had the financial clout to attract McGeady.
Indeed, few - if any - clubs in League One will have the financial firepower to match McGeady’s current wage package, making a move to the Championship or Scottish top flight the most likely option.
Any deal, though, will need to be done by 11pm on Friday.
WHAT ABOUT THE MLS?
A number of MLS clubs were understood to be interested in McGeady over the course of the summer, before he signed his contract extension at the Stadium of Light.
That interest could be reignited now, though - although there would be some hurdles to overcome should any American sides show an interest.
While the English window closes on January 31, MLS clubs cannot register new signings until February 12 - with their window then closing on May 5.
It’s worth noting that Sunderland can sell McGeady after the close of the English window, providing the purchasing club’s respective window remains open - meaning a move to the MLS after Friday’s deadline is a possibility.
A more complex hurdle, however, may be that of the MLS’ international roster slots.
Each club is allocated a certain number of international players, with limits placed on foreign imports in order to promote the development of homegrown American talent.
As of the start of January, there were 58 international player slots available across the league, with a number of clubs having already registered their quota of overseas stars.
That therefore limits the number of clubs McGeady could sign for in the MLS, with the following clubs the only options at this moment in time: Chicago Fire, FC Cincinnati, Columbus Crew, DC United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Inter Miami, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United, Montreal Impact, Nashville SC, New England Revolution, New York City, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto and Vancouver Whitecaps.
All these clubs have at least one - and in some cases, several, international roster spots available - meaning a move for McGeady could be possible.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER OPTIONS?
There are, of course, a number of other windows that will remain open after the English deadline passes.
Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Portugal and Russia are among the European nations whose windows close in February as opposed to January - handing McGeady some extra options.
He has played overseas before with Spartak Moscow, but it remains to be seen whether he would be interested in heading into Europe again.
HOW ABOUT RIPPING UP HIS CONTRACT?
This is another option that the club and player could take - although it is a fairly complex one.
Both the club and McGeady would have to agree to a termination of his contract, which still has eighteen months to run, and there may be compensation or a settlement of sorts involved.
However, there is a key rule to consider should this option be pursued.
Recent changes to the FIFA transfer guidelines mean that players can only be registered outside a ‘registration period’ - or transfer window - if their contract has been terminated or expired during the previous window.
That means that should McGeady wish to join a new club before the summer, he will need to have his contract terminated by January 31.
If his contract is terminated after the deadline passes, he won’t be able to register for a new club until the summer window.
Guideline 6.1 states: “As an exception to this rule, a professional whose contract has expired prior to the end of a registration period may be registered outside that registration period.”
It therefore seems the best option for all parties is sealing a move for McGeady to another club during the transfer window.
THE CURRENT STATE OF PLAY
Phil Parkinson said earlier this week that he remained ‘hopeful’ that the winger would depart – but conceded that no concrete offers have been submitted as of yet.
For now, then, it’s very much a case of watch this space.