The latest name to be linked with a move to Everton this summer is Wigan Athletic midfield player James McCarthy. The Irish international would be a perfect fit for Everton under the tactics Roberto Martinez is looking to employ at the Toffees next season, with his box to box style, his ability on the ball and his willingness to work hard, closing his opponent down and putting the opposing side under persistent pressure.
McCarthy has enjoyed an interesting career, with a self-minded approach to his ongoing personal development. He burst on to the scene aged 15, making his debut for Hamilton Academical as a substitute against Queen of the South. Shortly after he turned down the opportunity to join Liverpool and Real Madrid to continue his development in the Scottish League. By the time he made a transfer to the Premier League with Wigan Athletic, he had already made over 100 first team appearances and was still only 18 years old. He slowly established himself at Wigan, becoming an integral part of Roberto Martinez’s team and a star of the run to FA Cup glory last season.
McCarthy is seen as a controversial figure in his native Scotland. Born and raised in Glasgow to two Scottish parents he chose to represent Ireland, the country of his Grandfather, after he was approached as a 16 year old to play for the Republic of Ireland under 17 team. He has since progressed to accumulate 14 full international caps and as Giovanni Trapattoni has looked to re-ignite the Ireland team with an injection of youth he has become the mainstay of the midfield.
Still only 22, McCarthy has developed into a highly claimed and sought after midfield player and despite Wigan Athletic suffering relegation, he was one of the few players to emerge with his reputation intact. Indeed, Dave Whelan has reportedly placed a £20 million price tag on his head. Although he won’t come cheep, should Martinez choose to firm up his interest, Everton would be confident of agreeing a deal in the region of £10 million.
Midfield is one of two areas Martinez would like to strengthen (the other is out wide) and McCarthy would be his preferred option. Although Everton have only played two pre-season friendlies so far, the tactics and formation are quickly becoming clear. Very much in the style of Barcelona, the Blues are using a 4-2-3-1 formation or 4-3-3 depending on how it is interpreted. As things currently stand, Darron Gibson is quickly establishing himself as a crucial component of the Everton midfield under Martinez and appears to have one of the midfield berths secured. The creativity and subtly of Pienaar and Osman would be important to unlock an opposition defence, with one of the two likely to take the most forward midfield position (presuming Mirallas, Deulofeu and one other take the wing roles). That would leave one place up for grabs, and if Fellaini is to remain at Everton he would be expected to take that position in the team.
However football is not that simple and not only will Martinez want options, he will also be aware of the impact of injuries. Darron Gibson missed a number of games last season and as last season wore on, the Blues quickly ran out of midfield choices. The signing of McCarthy would create competition for places, provide a much needed injection of youth and in my opinion increase the quality of the Everton midfield.
Let us know your thoughts on the possible signing of James McCarthy. Is he the right man for the Blues or have Everton already signed too many players from Wigan?