Mansfield Town are closing in on a move for former Southend winger Stephen McLaughlin but face competition from north of the border, as reported by James Goodwin on Twitter.
The former Nottingham Forest man has been linked with the Stages for much of the summer, but a report yesterday appeared to confirm he was definitely leaving Southend United. The winger joined Southend in 2015 and has played over 150 games for the Blues, but leaves the club as a free agent following their relegation.
“We did speak to Stephen but as far as I’m concerned he is going elsewhere,” said Southend chairman Ron Martin, apparently paving the way for him to join Mansfield, who are managed by former Blues coach Graham Coughlan. He’s been busy recruiting this summer and is believed to have held extensive talks with McLaughlin, but so far to no avail.
He started his career in his native Ireland, playing for Finn Harps and Derry City before Nottingham Forest brought him over to England in 2013. He only made a handful of appearances for the Tricky Trees, but got experience out on loan with Bristol City and Notts County.
He signed for the Shrimpers on loan in the latter part of the 2014/15 season, making the move permanent that summer. It is so far unclear which Scottish sides might be interested, or at what level.
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McLaughlin has plenty of League One experience, which would make him a good fit for Mansfield, plus Coughlan likes to surround himself with trusted generals and already knows the player.
It’s a transfer saga which has dragged on a little of late, with many Mansfield fans and those ‘in the know’ sites predicting he would make the move any day soon. That’s been the case for a month or two now and Stags fans will be hoping it draws to an end, one way or another, very soon.