Which club would be the best destination for James McCarthy?
There is a new era at Everton under Ronald Koeman and the club’s transfer business has heated up in recent weeks. They are still looking to bring in some players before deadline day next Wednesday, but there could also be a few departures. The most notable of which could be James McCarthy, who was subbed after just 38 minutes in the side’s victory over West Brom.
The Daily Mail report that Koeman prefers Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye in central midfield, which means McCarthy is surplus to requirements. Everton are believed to be in the market for another central midfielder with Moussa Sissoko and Axel Witsel being linked in recent days. This leaves the door open for McCarthy to depart before the transfer deadline as Koeman looks to bring in a more complete midfielder.
It is due to the managerial change that McCarthy is now likely to leave. He was one of the first names on the team-sheet under Roberto Martinez, having followed the Spaniard to the club from Wigan Athletic. Although he had previous links to Martinez, he was a good signing for Everton at the time and provided tenacity to the midfield, quickly emerging as a popular presence at the club. The latest developments have come as a shock, as the Irishman is highly rated and still only 25.
Last season, McCarthy showed his qualities as a ball-winning midfielder, averaging 2.7 tackles and 1.8 interceptions in each match. His passing is also of a good standard, as displayed by his high passing success rate of 87%. The Irish international rarely takes risks on the ball and as a result can be relied upon to retain possession. He isn’t known for his goal-scoring, but did score twice for Everton last season and contributed the same number of assists.
He is a fine exponent at retrieving the ball and works tirelessly when on the pitch, but there is obviously something about his game that makes Koeman reluctant to use him. The Dutchman has signed Idrissa Gueye and Gareth Barry is also at the club. There doesn’t appear to be a place for McCarthy in the Everton squad. However that is going to be to the gain of another side, as there will be no shortage of suitors for the Irish midfielder.
The report in the Daily Mail states that Newcastle United, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Watford and Celtic are all interested in McCarthy. That is a good collection of clubs and he will have options available to him as he ponders his next move. He is likely to prioritise a Premier League move, but the Championship and Scotland both represent challenges in their own right.
Celtic are likely to be playing in the Champions League group stages, but they are rumoured to want a loan deal and Everton might prefer a permanent departure. Meanwhile, Everton are interested in Moussa Sissoko and they may try to include McCarthy in a deal for the Frenchman to decrease Newcastle’s asking price. A move to Newcastle would allow him to link up with Rafa Benitez, which could appeal to McCarthy.
In my opinion, Sunderland is the best destination for McCarthy from the clubs linked above. On Sunday against Middlesbrough, their central midfield looked poor and they need to strengthen in that area before the window closes. McCarthy would add steel and tenacity, both of which have been lacking during Sunderland’s first two matches. He would be given the opportunity to continue playing in the Premier League and under David Moyes, things could improve for the North East club.
The week ahead promises to see plenty of business done and there could be some more surprising stories like this one. McCarthy started both of the club’s first two matches and looked to have a future at the club. The decision taken by Koeman to substitute him in the first half against West Brom looked to have been made for tactical reasons, but it now looks to have ended his career at Everton. It will be interesting to see if he does move as expected and if so, where he will end up.
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