Levein's Sneaky Irish Scouting Trip
Craig Levein snuck out of the country last week, to take a look at a couple of potential signing targets ahead of the January transfer window.
Levein went undercover to spy on several players in the Shelbourne v`s Bohemians match on the 17th November, a match which confirmed Shelbourne as national champions after a 2-1 victory - the 3rd time in 4 seasons they`ve lifted the title.
One of the players that Levein watched was 28-year-old striker Jason Byrne, who scored 15 goals in 21 games for Shelbourne this season & has been one of the most prolific scorers in the Eircom league in recent seasons.
Bryne has won the PFAI Player Of The League award 2 years in-a-row, has been the league's top scorer for 4 years in-a-row and is the cousin of Tottenham striker Robbie Keane.
He began his playing career in 1998 for Bray Wanderers - a side Dundee United played during the club`s pre-season tour of Ireland in July 2000, winning 2-0 with goals from David Partridge and Jim Paterson.
After moving to Shelbourne in 2003, Bryne attracted the attention of several English clubs, but the club`s £300,000 asking price put off most of the interested clubs.
With Shelbourne now struggling financially, they might be forced to sell their most valuable asset to balance the books and that could mean Dundee United getting Bryne for a bargin price.
Speaking to the Evening Telegraph, Levein said "I have been over to Ireland to see him (Jason Byrne) but he was just one of a few players in that game that we had heard about. He did Ok, but we have done nothing about it because there are other options to look at."
"Everyone knows we need to bring in a striker so I will be watching a lot of games in the next few weeks to find the best player for the job."
Unfortunately, with the Eircom season now over it means that Levein wont get the chance to see Bryne in another competitive match before the transfer window reopens, which will probably put Levein off or United might have to invite Byrne to Tannadice on a trial basis, with a view to making it a more permanent arrangement.