Even accounting for the breakthrough of Ross Barkley this season, Everton do seem to be suffering from a shortage of central midfield options and this could be further compounded if Manchester United launch a late bid for Marouane Fellaini.
Fellaini remains odds-on at 8/15 to re-join David Moyes in this transfer window, but there is a growing feeling that the Belgian is a last resort if Man Utd are unsuccessful in capturing any of their other midfield targets.
Who Everton sign to possibly replace Fellaini or to generally strengthen their current squad remains unknown, with Gareth Barry and James McCarthy the two names most regularly bandied about.
Both are priced at 1/2 to join Everton before the window closes and at these prices, the safest bet has to be Barry.
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Barry has been pushed further down the Manchester City pecking order by the arrival of Fernandinho and he has not even made the substitute’s bench in either of Manuel Pellegrini’s games in charge so far.
The 32-year-old may not be the most glamorous signing Everton could make, but neither was Darron Gibson and he is now an appreciated member of the club’s ranks.
Winning back possession in midfield is the area where Barry would have the most positive impact, while the fact that his passing accuracy is strong and is a regular tackler are other assets.
Any deal for Barry is likely to be on loan and will require Man City to continue to stump up a fair chunk of his £100,000 a week wages.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is fully aware of McCarthy’s attributes from their time together at Wigan, with ball retention appearing his most valued skill, alongside his youthful endeavour.
There is nothing really stopping Martinez bringing in both midfielders, but of the pair, Barry seems the easier to sign and has the skill-set that is of a more pressing need to the Toffees.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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