Everton have been one of the busiest clubs in Europe in this summer’s transfer market – but one name that seems to have remained out of the picture is that of James McCarthy.
With Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye, Davy Klaassen, Gareth Barry and Tom Davies to now compete with – one must ask is it time for McCarthy to look for pastures new?
There is no denying the talent of the midfielder, but with the World Cup on the horizon, McCarthy will need to be playing regular first team football in the hope of securing a starting spot for Ireland. The performances of his counterparts, Jeff Hendrick and Harry Arter, could also put his position under threat.
With Gylfi Sigurdsson also supposedly on Everton’s transfer radar, it’s hard to see where McCarthy fits in at Goodison Park.
Although McCarthy’s future seems to be a continuous talking point every transfer window, there seems to be very little speculation surrounding the former Wigan man this summer.
There has been one or two rumblings about potential interest from Newcastle United, with a transfer fee proving to be a sticking point between the two clubs – with Everton asking for £25 million.
McCarthy made only twelve Premier League appearances last season, between injury and being down the pecking order. But one would imagine that should any club come in for the Ireland international, he would be more than willing to move.
In today’s transfer market, a player like McCarthy is a risk-free gamble given what you’re likely to pay for him in comparison to other deals which have taken place this summer.
Only a few seasons ago, McCarthy had been linked with some of the biggest sides in England, but with the writing seemingly on the wall at Everton – where would McCarthy become the final piece of the puzzle?
Newcastle’s reported interest comes as no surprise – and McCarthy and Jonjo Shelvey could make for a midfielder partnership that boasts both solidity and Premier League experience. West Brom are supposedly keen too, and with Darren Fletcher having departed the Baggies, then McCarthy could prove to be an ideal long-term replacement.
Celtic was once touted as a potential destination for the midfield man, but with Everton’s asking price could prove to be a stumbling block.
However, if Celtic free up funds from a sale of Moussa Dembele, then perhaps a return to the SPL could be on the cards, as well as the opportunity to avail of Champions League football – should Celtic overcome Astana in the play-offs.
The 26-year-old, it must be admitted, hasn’t quite lived up to the expectation and hype that was once placed upon his shoulders.
When he declared for Ireland, the media erupted at the potential of the new Roy Keane. He was a revelation under Roberto Martinez at Everton, but his form has dipped since and has not shown many signs of picking up.
Time is on McCarthy’s side to prove he can still mix it at the top level.
A midfielder who would improve most sides in the Premier League, it will be interesting to see whether or not anything comes of his future in the forthcoming weeks.
If there is one thing for certain, it is that he’s not going to stay at Everton forever – and should go out and prove to Martin O’Neill that he deserves to start for his country.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena.