Everton manager Ronald Koeman seems quite prepared to sell James McCarthy this summer, but the Irish international will not be let go for a reduced fee.
McCarthy joined Everton from Wigan in a £13m deal in 2013, and the club are determined to make a substantial profit from the 26-year-old. According to MailSport, the Toffees are demanding as much as £20m for his services.
Koeman confirmed that, despite being called up by Martin O’Neill for Ireland’s upcoming internationals, he will instead stay at his club as he looks to recover from a long-standing hamstring injury.
The Dutchman also stated that he wants to keep McCarthy at Goodison Park, insisting that he is an important part of the side when fully fit:
“Of course I want to keep McCarthy because all the times he was really fit and on his level most of the time he was a starting player. But it was really difficult because he had a lot of injuries and that makes it difficult for him and the manager also.
“He will stay (at home for these Ireland games). He spoke to the manager and they took the decision he will not go to the national team.
“In my opinion that is a really good decision he needs to recover and get ready for pre-season.”
McCarthy’s decision to travel with the Ireland squad has dampened the potential for another public war of words between Koeman and O’Neill; the pair’s demeanour towards each other became increasingly petulant as the season wore on, and with McCarthy in the middle it heightened speculation that Koeman would look to cut his losses on the player.
Injuries have blighted his season to the point where he has made just seven Premier League starts this season, and hasn’t completed more than an hour of a match since December.
The report credits Newcastle, West Ham and Crystal Palace as having an interest in McCarthy, and while Koeman might be reluctant to sell in public, Everton’s push to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson and the emergence of Tom Davies could make the midfielder’s position on Merseyside that bit shakier.
Should any club match Everton’s asking price, it would make McCarthy the most expensive Irish player ever – surpassing the £19m Liverpool paid Tottenham for Robbie Keane in 2008.