Republic of Ireland starlet James McCarthy looks set to continue plying his trade in the Premier League next season despite Wigan’s fall through the top flight trap door.
The 22-year-old put in a string of dazzling displays for the Latics and can count himself unlucky to have a relegation on his resume.
Wigan managed to keep their place at England’s top table for eight years and while the DW Stadium in not renowned for being packed to the hilt with passionate fans, they have always attempted (and often succeeded) in playing attractive football.
McCarthy is one of a few players to have stood out this season and now looks set to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Leighton Baines, Antonio Valencia, Victor Moses in realising his dream of playing for one of the UK’s biggest clubs.
Wigan still have a final game to play before planning an assault on the Championship next year and already a number of vultures are circling.
Newcastle, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool have all been credited with an interest thus far, but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers appears to be the first manager out the blocks. The Reds boss ran the rule over McCarthy and team-mate Callum McManaman last week and the Anfield side are now priced as 5/2 joint-favourites to secure the services of the highly-rated Irishman.
Spurs are also priced at 5/2, and with Scott Parker continually sidelined Andre Villas-Boas could well be in the market for a player to provide Moussa Dembele, Lewis Holtby and Sandro with competiton for places.
Arsenal are third in the betting at 5/1 but with Arsene Wenger’s penchant for continental stars and the club already boasting young British central midfield talent in Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey it seems unlikely McCarthy will surface at Ashburton Grove.
McCarthy himself has moved to quash rumours linking him with a move to Old Trafford, but quality British midfielders are sewn into the fabric of Manchester United and the 8/1 saying he joins the champions could prove good value.
However, new United boss David Moyes is likely to need to set his sights slightly higher to appease the doubters among the Stretford End faithful, paving the way for the former Hamilton Academicals man to join Rodgers’ Reds revolution.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.