The Jamie Maclaren deal is far from certain. (AFP Photo / Benjamin Cremel)
The Jamie Maclaren deal is far from certain. (AFP Photo / Benjamin Cremel)

City’s deadline day race for striker

MELBOURNE City's chaotic January transfer window dealings will go down to the wire, with the club scrambling to secure a striker before Thursday's A-League deadline.

City were pushing to secure the deal for Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren, with his club Hibernian playing hardball on releasing him from a season-long loan from his parent club, Germans Darmstadt.

Brisbane Roar striker Adam Taggart, 25, was being lined up as back-up in case the Maclaren deal fell through.

City's striker search has taken on a whole lot more significance with the deal to sign West Brom's Irish attacker Wes Hoolahan collapsing on Wednesday.

Taggart has been on fire with Brisbane Roar, scoring 10 goals in 16 games. It's unclear whether Roar would release him.

It is believed that City's soccer chiefs are split on in their preference for Maclaren and Taggart, who were teammates at Young Socceroos and Olyroos level.

City, which has two spots left on its roster, inside the salary cap, after Michael O'Halloran and Osama Malik departed in January, was hoping to unleash Maclaren and Hoolahan for Sunday's six-point clash away to Sydney FC.

But even if they manage to push the Maclaren deal through, he would be unlikely to arrive in Australia before Saturday, meaning the Round 18 home clash against Adelaide United on Saturday week would be his most likely debut date.

Roar striker Taggart is also in the frame. (Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Roar striker Taggart is also in the frame. (Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

City have already agreed terms with Maclaren, a back-ended deal which safeguards it from the lack of marquee spot availability in light of the Bruno Fornaroli standoff.

City were confident of securing Hoolahan, whose short-term deal with Championship club West Brom ends on Thursday, but the deal fell through.

Hoolahan, 36, spent 10 years at Norwich City and played 43 games for the Irish national team. He was due to replace departed Scottish winger Michael O'Halloran.

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