Former St Johnstone striker Graham Cummins has compared Callum Davidson’s signing target Daniel Cleary to Perth legend Jason Kerr.
And he believes his fellow Irishman would be a perfect fit for the position the double-winning captain vacated.
Saints are keen to bring the former Liverpool and Birmingham City centre-half to McDiarmid Park in January and Cummins understands why his old club have identified the Dundalk star to strengthen their defence.
“Dan’s a very good player,” he said. “He’s physically strong, aggressive and likes to come and meet the ball.
“I wouldn’t say he was unbelievable in possession but he is good.
— Dundalk FC (@DundalkFC) April 21, 2021
“Just when I’m thinking about it, he does kind of remind me of Jason Kerr in the way they both play – aggressive, quick, good in the air, good on the ground, and similar build.
“I think playing on the right side of a back-three would really suit him.
“He’s definitely an athlete and a back-three suits athletes. You have to get forward in the wide positions of the three.
“Dan’s the type of player you could see filling as a holding midfielder as well.
“I do think he would suit St Johnstone and suit the league.”
Conor McCarthy comparison
Cummins also drew a parallel between Cleary and another centre-back who made a seamless transition from the League of Ireland to the Scottish Premiership.
“Conor McCarthy has done very well at St Mirren,” said the 33-year-old, who played for Saints between 2015 and 2017.
“He hit the ground running and Dan would be the exact same.
“He’s maybe not as quick as Conor but he’s probably a bit more aggressive.
“And they do have similar traits.
“I think Dan’s at his best when he’s got someone communicating well beside him.
“So Liam Gordon would be really good for him.
“It’s a while since I played against Dan but he could be a bit naïve at times and switch off.
“And he wants to win every ball which can leave gaps to exploit.
“That’s where having somebody talking to him is important.
“He did have a bit of a temper but you kind of need that as a defender as well – definitely in Scotland!
“St Johnstone have never had centre-backs who stroll along the backline. You need to show a bit of aggression.”
— Sean Stephen (@seanstephen) May 5, 2018
When Cleary is mulling over his options, he is certain to consult with Dundalk team-mate, David McMillan, the forward whose Saints’ career never caught fire.
“I’m sure he’ll speak to David for advice,” said Cummins, who played against Cleary for Cork City before he retired from football.
“I know things didn’t work out for him at St Johnstone but he couldn’t have had a horrible time in Scotland because he hung around and had a couple of loans before coming home.
“You can always come back, like David did, if the risk doesn’t pay off.”
Cummins added: “If I’m looking at it from his point of view with Dundalk, a few weeks ago you would 100% say: ‘You need to get out of that club’.
“But they’ve just got new owners and will probably be getting a new management team. You’d imagine they would want to keep Dan.
“Dan’s a full-time footballer, is probably living in Dublin and I know that he’s now got a young child. Moving your family is a big decision.
“Realistically, Dundalk might not be far off paying the same sort of contract as Saints.
“You have to weigh up a lot of things.
“He’s 25 and if he’s going to leave Ireland it has to be now.
“No offence to Saints but if he does sign, he’ll be looking to go again.
“Dundalk to St Johnstone isn’t life-changing financially but it could open up more doors and be a better career move if he’s thinking that way.”