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With the signing nearing a formality, Martin O'Neill has stressed that James McFadden will provide solid cover for James McClean and Adam Johnson.
The deal to sign free agent James McFadden appears to be nearing a conclusion, with a deal set to be signed the moment his agent steps off a plane from America where he was currently on business - according to reports from the Daily Mail's man in the North East, Colin Young.
Some have wondered what exactly the point of adding James McFadden to the equation at the Stadium Of Light is, including ourselves, but it appears that he won't be signed as anything other than cover for James McClean and Adam Johnson according to Martin O'Neill;
James has Premier League experience. If he gets fit he can help us. We can't expect to keep James McClean and Adam Johnson fit all season and he will give us a wide option.
Some salient points from O'Neill, and he's right about providing cover in the attacking midfield positions. It's something we commented prior to the season kicking off in this article (HERE) and it's worth repeating that while Stephane Sessegnon, McClean and Johnson are an attacking triumvirate to envy for much of the Premier League, we're incredibly thin behind them.
Obviously we can get by without one by plugging in Seb Larsson. We can overcome two perhaps with a change of formation, but other than that we've a bit of a struggle on our hands. Johnson has already been injured once this season, and we have to hope that McClean can stay fit. As yet the Irishman hasn't suffered a major injury - and we hope he doesn't - so we don't really know how he comes back from this sort of thing.
The signing of McFadden, whenever it's completed, and whilst not the flashiest or most impressive of names out there, will undoubtedly be a solid reinforcement to a very thin area of the side.