According to NewsDay, Crystal Palace have made an enquiry about Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, with Premier League rivals Newcastle said to be among the interested parties.
Palace are pretty well-stocked at the moment in terms of the midfield, with Roy Hodgson opting for any number of combination involving the likes of Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur, James McCarthy and Jairo Riedewald.
However, Palace currently have 18 players who will be out of contract by the end of the season, including McCarthy himself, who has been tipped to leave Selhurst Park and join defending Scottish Premiership champions Celtic.
And now, NewsDay claim that along with Newcastle, the Eagles are eyeing a move for the defensive-minded midfielder, who has made just five Premier League appearances this season so far.
The report adds, however, that Villa have rebuffed an approach from Palace, as Dean Smith believes he can act as a backup for Douglas Luiz and John McGinn.
But that doesn’t hide from the fact that Nakamba has fallen down the pecking order at Villa Park, with the likes of Douglas Luiz, John McGinn and Ross Barkley battling to bag a spot alongside Jack Grealish.
McCarthy is still yet to sign a contract extension with the club he joined from Everton for £3m in 2019 and the Zimbabwean could be the man to come into Hodgson’s side as his long-term replacement.
In 77 appearances across all competitions for Vitesse Arnhem, he has still bagged three goals and four assists from a deep-lying holding midfield position, which isn’t all that dissimilar from McCarthy’s goal return for the Toffees.
Nakamba has struggled for game time under Smith so far this season but was excellent during the last campaign as Villa narrowly escaped relegation from the top flight, earning a solid WhoScored match rating of 6.47 for his performances in the process.
Last season, he averaged more tackles (1.9), interceptions (1.3) and clearances (1.1) than McCarthy has currently managed this season so far, which suggests that he could prove to be a suitable replacement should the Republic of Ireland international depart Selhurst Park in the summer. He also has experience of playing in the Champions League for Club Brugge, which is something that McCarthy himself cannot offer.
Villa coach Smith was effusive in his praise for the 27-year-old, who is three years younger than McCarthy, after he started in the 2-0 victory over Newcastle at Villa Park last week.
He said: “Marvelous came in against Newcastle and was excellent, and that’s important. When you have good structure and organisation, players can come in and they know their roles.”
Nakamba, therefore, who is currently rated at £7m via Transfermarkt, could be the man to finally replace McCarthy at the south London club.