Celtic’s reported pursuit of one Premier League midfielder has taken an interesting twist this week, though it’s probably for the best…
According to The Sun, Hoops target James McCarthy is in talks with Crystal Palace over a new contract at Selhurst Park.
It’s claimed that he’s keen to extend his deal after joining the Eagles last summer from top-flight rivals Everton whilst 90min linked Celtic with a move for the Glasgow-born Irishman earlier this month.
They suggest that the south Londoners would be open to selling him this summer.
McCarthy is a boyhood supporter of the Hoops and admitted back in October that he’d love to experience an Old Firm derby one day, so this story could develop further with the window closing in October.
Former Wigan midfielder Michael Brown stoked the fire earlier this week with his comments, believing McCarthy would be a “hell of a signing” for Celtic.
However, this feels more like it would be more shades of Eyal Berkovic than Stiliyan Petrov.
Signed for a then club-record £5.75m, the Israeli moved to Parkhead on the back of a successful spell in the Premier League but soon became lazy and disinterested before Martin O’Neill shipped him back to England.
That’s not to say McCarthy would follow the same path in terms of attitude, though it’s hard to see him making a decent impact north of the border.
The 29-year-old only averaged 0.5 key passes, 0.4 shots and 0.2 dribbles per game this season, via WhoScored, and as a central midfielder in the engine room, a lowly 23.7 passes per appearance is hardly inspiring either.
McCarthy, who’s valued at just £3.6m by Transfermarkt, isn’t going to be the man to take the reins from Scott Brown or Callum McGregor nor should he be brought in to halt the development of Oliver Ntcham.
Nick Hammond should duck away from this move completely and he’s been given a clear route to do so with the player entering fresh contract talks.
AND in other news, Celtic should sign this striker ahead of Ivan Toney…