Newcastle United look to be going all out after winning the Championship and bouncing back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
The Magpies have already signed Christian Atsu – who impressed in his loan spell from Chelsea last year – and have also been linked with the likes of Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs and exciting youngster Tammy Abraham.
The latest man Rafa Benitez is hoping to turn to in order to improve his side is Everton’s James McCarthy.
According to the MirrorFootball, Newcastle have considered a move for McCarthy but are currently baulking at the £15m fee Everton want for the 26-year-old.
It’s easy to see why the move is interesting the Spanish manager, as the Irishmen has clocked up over 200 Premier League appearances. That midfielder could be the exact player the Magpies need to exert his influence in the middle of the park.
Prior to last season, McCarthy had established himself as a solid central midfielder able to win the ball and keep the play ticking.
In each of his first seven seasons, the former Wigan midfielder managed well over 80% for pass completions and also average over two tackles per game (courtesy of WhoScored).
Last season things didn’t work out quite so well however, as the Irishmen struggled with injuries and fell behind new signings Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin in the Toffees’ pecking order.
Even after signing the Frenchman, Ronald Koeman insisted McCarthy was still in his plans. But it’s hard to imagine the Everton boss turning down a £15m bid, especially after splashing £23m on Ajax captain Davy Klaassen only last week.
Some Newcastle fans will baulk at the fee, though – especially considering the Irishmen was limited to only 12 appearances in an Everton shirt last term.
There is also the worry of how his fitness will be managed and if Benitez faces a similar tug of war with Ireland manager Martin O’Neill to the one Koeman experienced.
And there is a worry of how McCarthy’s arrival could hinder bright prospect Isaac Hayden, who excelled after signing from Arsenal last summer.
While the fee may seem a little high, it is worth noting that even now – in arguably the lowest ebb of McCarthy’s career since he arrived in England – Transfermarkt still has his value at £12.75m. That value will only rise when he’s back playing again.
It also may serve as a wakeup call for some fans, as this inflation has become the norm when it comes to signing Premier League-quality players – particularly those who have excelled at the top flight.
And rather than stall the progress of players like Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey, McCarthy’s arrival is likely to help Benitez manage the fitness of his players. Even better, pairing both McCarthy and Hayden would allow Shelvey to become the more advanced of a midfield trio and wreak havoc with his clever passing and rocket of a shot.
It’s worth noting as well that McCarthy has a point to prove to managers like Koeman. Similar to Kieran Gibbs, the Irishman will be keen to prove he still has what it takes to play at the top level and will have a fire burning in his belly each game.
You can’t put a price on that.