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Report: James McClean confirms intention to leave Wigan Athletic, wants to play at "the highest level possible"

So he's definitely leaving Wigan, but is he definitely not coming to RBNY?

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Alleged New York Red Bulls' transfer target James McClean has long been thought to be on his way out of recently-relegated Wigan Athletic, despite the club naming him as one of the players it is retaining for the coming season.

In a recent interview, he certainly spoke like a man intending to find a new team, but his latest comments - to the Derry Journal, as reported by the Irish Mirror - make his intentions clearer still:

"I’ve got to be selfish as I want to be the best player I can be. Obviously I’ve great aspirations at international level too. In order to realise those, it’s important I’m playing at the highest level possible. So with the greatest respect, that’s not in League One."

He's moving on. Unfortunately for RBNY fans, McClean also made clear that his priority is a return to the highest level possible in England:

"I’m not going to beat around the bush because I’ve made it clear that my wish is to return to the Premier League."

Still, he appears to be keeping an open mind:

"But that’s out of my control right now and I can only wait to see what develops."

There is speculation from the Mirror that McClean is wary of a move to MLS because of his desire to remain firmly in the frame for his national team. This may well be the case, but the player appears to have been careful to avoid being quoted directly on the subject of whether MLS is troubling thought for him.

As he will know better than most - and the Irish press is certainly aware - playing in MLS is not necessarily out of sight of Ireland's selectors. The latest provisional squad for the team's June internationals includes two players currently contracted to MLS teams: LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane and Colorado Rapids' Kevin Doyle.

Keane, of course, is a legend of Irish international soccer - his national team prospects were unlikely to be under great threat so long as he maintained form and fitness. Doyle has only just moved to America, so the impact on his international career is hard to gauge.

Nonetheless, they represent evidence that it is possible to combine playing in MLS with representing the Republic of Ireland at the international level.

James McClean's dance with RBNY isn't necessarily over yet.