United States winger Brek Shea is on the verge of moving from Stoke City to Barnsley on a short-term loan deal, according to sources close to the situation.
The move could be finalized as early as Wednesday, the first day of the January transfer window, sources told ESPN FC. If the move happens that quickly, Shea could go straight into Barnsley’s squad for their New Year’s Day game away to Birmingham City, sources said.
The loan will likely get Shea more regular game action entering a World Cup year, although Barnsley play in the Championship, one level below the Premier League.
Shea has featured often for the U.S. national team since Jurgen Klinsmann’s arrival as manager in July 2011, and he scored his first two goals in a U.S. shirt this past July during the Gold Cup, including the winner against Panama in the Gold Cup final.
But a stubborn foot injury that plagued Shea throughout much of his first half-season at Stoke and his subsequent struggle to break through under new Stoke manager Mark Hughes has had Klinsmann urging Shea to seek a loan move to ensure that he is playing at a peak level entering the summer, with Klinsmann required to choose his 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by May.
Klinsmann has made it clear that only players who are playing regularly for their club sides will be considered for selection for the World Cup.
The loan move from Stoke to the Yorkshire side will take Shea from 12th place in the Premier League to the club at the bottom of the 24-team Championship. Yet that surely won’t matter to Klinsmann, who doesn’t have an abundance of options to provide the threat and creativity Shea brings down the left side.
Shea, 23, was brought to Stoke in January 2013 by current Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis on a transfer from FC Dallas in Major League Soccer. Under Hughes this season, Shea has made only three appearances for Stoke and just one in the Premier League, appearing as a second-half substitute Nov. 30 in a 4-0 defeat at Everton.
Shea’s other two games -- and one start -- were in the Capital One Cup.