The Imps are reportedly weighing up a move for Shane McLoughlin, a New York-born Irish youth international currently playing for Welsh side Newport County.
The report has come from Football Insider, and usually, I’d discount it because it falls foul of the rule of three. Three clubs have been named as interested: us, Wrexham and Rotherham, which basically announces him to all three divisions. However, the last time I rubbished a report because of the rule of three, it was Joe Taylor. A couple of days later we signed him.
Football Insider (unlike the Twitter account TC9, which, I say for the umpteenth window, is rubbish) is usually a fairly reputable site, and Peter O’Rourke isn’t often far from the mark, so there could be some truth in this. McLoughlin is experienced; he’s a 26-year-old with 156 career appearances to his name, so he fits the bill. However, there would be a fee payable as he isn’t out of contract until next summer, and I think that makes this a rumour that’s wide of the mark.
🚨 EXCLUSIVE! 🚨 – Wrexham, Rotherham, Lincoln, and Wycombe are all weighing up moves for Newport County ace Shane McLoughlin.
His suitors are set to watch him this weekend in Newport's FA Cup clash with Manchester United.
— Football Insider (@footyinsider247) January 26, 2024
McLoughlin moved from New York when he was five, and after spending some of his youth in Ireland, he joined Ipswich Town. He turned pro there in 2016/17 (good year, Ipswich fans), spending time with Bromley on loan. He left East Anglia in 2019, signing for Wimbledon, where he remained for two seasons. He appeared against the Imps in his final game for the Wombles, a 0-0 draw behind closed doors before a switch to Morecambe.
He had two years at Morecambe, with a six-month loan spell at Salford, before joining Newport in the summer. He’s been a huge success at Rodney Parade, with six goals and five assists this season. He operates as a full back, usually on the left for the Exiles, but he can play on either side. He’s also played as a centre-back, showing his versatility, and occasionally in midfield.
He’s versatile, he’s experienced, and he’s certainly valued at Newport, but it’s that fee that makes me wonder. My impression is we’re not actively looking to spend a fee this window, but for experience, we may have to. Whether that will be on Shane McLoughlin remains to be seen.