The Southampton midfielder is rumoured to be Spurs’ top target, but the Saints’ reluctance to sell and the player’s own Champions League ambitions look to be serious barriers.
As a result, the Londoners are tracking other options, with McCarthy a name in the mix.
Mauricio Pochettino is keen to secure a midfielder with genuine Premier League experience to help boost his side’s top four hopes, and the Republic of Ireland international has impressed the north London club.
McCarthy only signed for the Toffees in 2013 from Wigan – he followed manager Roberto Martinez – and played a key role in the Merseysiders’ push for Champions League qualification last season.
Meanwhile, Tottenham remain hopeful of securing a six-month loan deal for PSG’s Adrien Rabiot, and Emmanuel Adebayor is refusing to take a pay-cut to leave White Hart Lane, despite interest from Turkey and Italy.