Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has reportedly sent scouts to watch rising Irish talent James McCarthy.
The 19-year-old midfielder made his international debut for the Republic against Brazil in February, and Arsenal have sent members of their scouting department to monitor the teenager after a breakthrough season in the Premier League.
McCarthy signed for Wigan Athletic from Scottish Premier League side Hamilton Academicals this summer in a deal worth £1.2 million. That fee is expected to rise to £3 million, depending on appearances.
The former Accie has taken little time to settle in at the DW Stadium, featuring 17 times for the Latics in the current campaign. He also scored his first goal for the club in the 2-0 victory at Wolves back in January.
At international level, McCarthy represented the Republic of Ireland junior sides at all levels from U17 to U21. Despite rumours of a possible 'switch' to Scotland, the youngster committed to Giovanni Trapattoni's men with his debut against the Samba Boys, ironically at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger is thought to have been impressed by the talented player's rise to prominence in Lancashire, and the News of the World were first to report that the Frenchman is interested in the talented youngster.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has also stated that he won't stand in the way of his young starlets moving on to bigger things.
"You will have ask the chairman [Dave Whelan] about that, but I think they want to play 60 games for Wigan and then move to the next level," the Spaniard told the Daily Telegraph.
"They are not ready to move yet; they feel at home here. I wouldn’t stop them nor would I like to. Clubs like ours need to produce players who have not yet reached their peak and to then get the right valuation to allow us to go to the next level."
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