Fair enough: Wigan may have had a disappointing season, but McClean is the club's Player of the Year. A team seeking to bounce straight back out of League One and into the Championship again is well advised to try to keep its better players.
So perhaps it is in the name of hoping to retain McClean that news of a not-insignifcant transfer fee for any club hoping to lure him away from Wigan has reached the British press.The UK's Sun is reporting the Irishman's current employer is holding out for a transfer fee of approximately $3.9 million (GBP 2.5 million) for McClean.
He is still under contract with Wigan, as the club made clear in a statement about players retained under contract for the upcoming 2015-16 season. So the club does have some say in whether McClean gets to stay or go.
If the Red Bulls really are looking hard at the Irishman, it sounds like there are some negotiations ahead.
Just because there is a number being thrown around in the papers doesn't make it true, any more than a transfer rumor is made true by being continually repeated.
Transfer fees are not always accurately reported, particularly before they have been paid. When McClean was close to moving from Sunderland to Wigan, his price tag was estimated at GBP 1.5 million by the Mirror. The official transfer fee was "undisclosed", but the BBC reported it as "over GBP 1 million" and the Guardian reported GBP 2 million. (In fairness to the BBC, two million is clearly a sum greater than one million).
Is Papa Red Bull going to throw down almost $4 million to bring McClean to RBNY? Is that even a realistic fee for the player?
No idea. What we do know, per Wigan's statement about players retained and released, is that McClean is still under contract with his club in England. And that certainly suggests his club can demand a transfer fee for him.
If the initial reports about the scale of that fee are accurate (and reports of RBNY's interest in McClean are also accurate), the suggestion that the New York Red Bulls have lost their stomach for (by MLS standards) high-spending on players may prove to have been premature.