In-demand midfielder James McCarthy featured prominently in Wigan Athletic’s 4-0 opening day thumping of Barnsley, but the Latics promotion hopes will take a knock if the lure of an instant return to the Premier League proves irresistible to the Irish international.
Currently Wigan are good value at 5/2 to gain promotion at the first attempt and the £2million acquisition of Grant Holt up front was an inspired choice for the Championship.
They will have cover if McCarthy leaves and go back into the transfer market with the funds his sale would generate, but to lose a player of such quality having already seen Antolin Alcaraz and Arouna Kone join Roberto Martinez at Everton would be a blow to the Lancashire club’s ambitions.
As a youth player at Hamilton Academical’s, McCarthy was coveted by the biggest clubs in Europe with Liverpool, Celtic and Real Madrid all rumoured to have made enquiries for the then 16-year-old.
He become one of Martinez’s first signings at the DW stadium in the summer of 2009 and the new Goodison Park boss will look to repeat that trick, although he could end up paying more than ten times the £1.2million laid out by Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan four years ago.
Newcastle are also said to be in for the player as they try to get back on track following a disastrous 12 months.
The Magpies midfield trio of Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa were a revelation two years ago when Alan Pardew’s men blasted into a fifth place finish yet their sporadic form contributed to Newcastle’s brush with relegation last time out.
After bringing in a spate of promising but unproven midfielders in the last two transfer windows the Geordie’s now need a player of McCarthy’s pedigree and experience to ensure the club’s Premier League survival is not in question during the coming campaign.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date