The Imps have been linked with a move for 28-year-old midfielder Shaun Byrne of Dundee.
Byrne is out of contract this summer, and whilst his parent club have opened talks over a new deal, we are credited with an interest. If you strip back the news, you eventually arrived at an article by The S*n, so I’m not sure how viable it is, but as a few creditable outlets have picked it up, I thought I’d roll with it.
We’re one of two clubs being linked, the other is Bradford City, managed by a Scot, Derek Adams. There could be an element of ‘they’re managed by a Scot and we shopped from Dundee Utd in the summer’, leading to the story. Or, we could genuinely be interested in the player, who served much of his apprenticeship at Celtic.
He was with them for four years, before a move to Dunfermline, where he earned his first pro deal in 2012. He played 115 times for them, winning Scotland’s League One in 2016. He then moved to Livingston, whom he helped to the League One title in 2016/17, and then promotion to Scotland’s top flight the season after via the play-offs. In 2019, he moved to Dundee, where he’s appeared 73 times, a handful of those in the top flight. He was again involved in a promotion, again through the play-offs at the end of last season.
He’s been out injured since October, but is closing in on full fitness and faces an uncertain future. His parent club clearly want to retain his services, but there could be a significant lure with the offer of English football at a key stage of his career. It might be a case of ‘now or never’ if he is to try his luck south of the border. However, his initial three-year deal also included a clause that activated if he made a certain number of appearances in his final season. It could be that Dundee now fear he won’t, given his injury, and they’re keen not to lose their key midfielder.
Byrne does play a position that we seemingly need reinforcements in; the holding role. When Liam Bridcutt is not fit, we lack a good holding midfielder, and the former Celtic youth operates there in what would be the traditional number four role. His passing accuracy is very good; this season he’s topped 87% with The Dark Blues, before his injury.
Whether this is just paper talk, or a tangible move for a player, remains to be seen.