Newcastle United have stepped up their efforts to sign in demand Wigan Athletic midfielder James McCarthy as Yohan Cabaye continues his self-imposed exile from the club.
The French international has refused to play any part in the Geordies’ season so far and has declared himself unavailable for the Capital One Cup second round tie at League Two minnows Morecambe.
The north west club are 9/2 to beat Alan Pardew’s side, with the draw at 3/1 and Newcastle warm favourites at 1/2.
Arsenal are ready to come back with an improved bid for former Lille midfielder Cabaye and with Paris Saint-Germain also thought to be interested, Pardew is planning for life without the player.
Glasgow-born McCarthy impressed with his passing ability and lung-busting running throughout his four Premier League seasons at the DW Stadium.
During Wigan’s relegation season he hit the sixth-highest number of passes in the Premier League, with an 87% accuracy rate putting him in the highest echelon of top-flight suppliers.
At just 22-years-old the former Hamilton Academicals man should not be hitting his prime for another couple of years and would certainly hold his value – even if a club is willing to match Wigan’s reputed £15m price tag.
Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear is ready to open the bidding at £8m, but if Everton sell Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United, McCarthy’s old Wigan gaffer Roberto Martinez will do all he can to bring the player he signed for just £1.2m to Goodison Park.
With the transfer window less than a week away from slamming shut, McCarthy’s future could depend on how quickly David Moyes can tie up a deal for Fellaini.
A reunion with Martinez is thought to be McCarthy’s preferred choice, but the Toffees have to sell before they can move for any new players.