The scenario where Cameron McGeehan may still have a Barnsley future - despite Portsmouth's interest

It’s a deal that Pompey would be keen to pursue if their playing budget allows so.

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 6:00 pm

Kenny Jackett has confirmed he’d be interested in signing Cameron McGeehan on a permanent basis this summer.

The Blues boss stopped short of committing to a swoop for the midfielder given the precarious financial landscape that lies ahead amid the coronavirus.

However, Jackett’s been impressed with McGeehan’s contributions since arriving on loan from Barnsley in January. He's scored two goals in 15 outings, with the manager believing there’s more to come.

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But, realistically, do Pompey stand a chance of recruiting him?

After all, he has a year left on his Oakwell deal and was signed for a substantial fee from Luton in 2017.

According to Doug O’Kane, sports editor at the Barnsley Chronicle, the ex-Norwich man faces a battle to force his way back into Tykes head coach Gerhard Struber’s plans.

But with Barnsley rooted to the bottom of the Championship, they’re facing the realistic prospect of playing in League One again.

Cameron McGeehan. Picture: Kieran Cleeves

And that could bring McGeehan back into the fray.

O’Kane said: ‘The current manager isn’t a fan of McGeehan and said he needs to be better off the ball. He doesn’t really fit into his style.

‘He’s never said: “Cameron McGeehan will not play for me again”. But when he joined Pompey, Struber said his work off the ball needs to be better to fit into his style and there were other players who can do it better.

‘If Barnsley go down, there might be a bit of uncertainty over Struber, although he’s got two years left on his contract.

Cameron McGeehan celebrates Barnsley's League One promotion. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images

‘In League One, McGeehan is a good player to have and could still play a role for Barnsley if they’re relegated, so it’d be quite tempting to keep him.

‘If he could come back and improve then it’s not impossible, but he’s not really in Struber’s plans.

‘I’d be speculating but Barnsley have said there is a severe threat to the club’s financial future like most others.

‘If there is a player who’s not in the manager’s plans and they might be able to get a fee then they’d probably take it.

‘McGeehan’s got a year left on his contract and Barnsley would rather get a fee for him now than let him leave for nothing in 12 months.

‘When he was signed, it was for a decent fee so it’s hard to tell. Barnsley would like to recoup some of that as it was a big fee at the time.

‘Maybe Barnsley would take a bit less and look to get him off the wage bill, though.’

McGeehan's already displayed he can play a key role in a League One promotion-winning side after netting six times in 44 appearances when Barnsley went up last term.

The former Northern Ireland under-21 international has never quite established himself in the Championship, though.

He was loaned out to Scunthorpe in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign before joining Pompey earlier this term.

However, O’Kane believes there have been mitigating circumstances in McGeehan’s favour.

He added: ‘McGeehan was very popular last season. He wasn't in the team at the start but broke in after Kenny Dougall got injured.

‘He and Alex Mowatt were excellent in central midfield and he was one of the players of the season.

‘You thought this was going to be the season he’d make it in the Championship. He did okay and scored a couple of goals under Daniel Stendel but probably wasn’t at his best. When the manager changed, he never really had a sniff.

‘In his first season in the Championship, he’d just come back from a broken leg he suffered at Fratton Park playing for Luton and maybe wasn’t match fit after five or six months out.

‘Going from League Two to the Championship would be hard for any player coming back from a broken leg.

‘There are reasons why he hasn’t quite done it at that level but he’s unproven, it’d be fair to say.

‘He’s capable of doing a number of different things. At Luton, he was known as an attacking midfielder who’d burst into the box – not quite a number-10 but someone with a lot of legs who’d get involved in attacks.

‘With Barnsley, he played as a holding midfielder but he seemed to adapt brilliantly. He still got forward and can cover a lot of ground when at full fitness.’