Manchester United have been listed as the leading contenders to sign Everton midfielder James McCarthy during the summer transfer window. Sky Bet have the club at just 5/2 to conclude a deal before the deadline.
McCarthy joined Everton only a year ago following Wigan’s relegation from the Premier League, with the young midfielder recruited by former manager Roberto Martinez in a deal that could rise to £13 million should all clauses be met.
But could he move to Manchester United? It would appear highly unlikely, despite Sky Bet opening a book on the 23-year-old. For what it’s worth, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal have also been placed in the running - although their odds are significantly longer, ranging from 10/1 to 14/1.
Manchester United have been linked with McCarthy, with claims in May that the 23-year-old was among several targets under consideration. But he would still be something of a left-field acquisition were Louis van Gaal to stage an active pursuit.
A partner for Herrera
Following the signing of Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao, the club are still expected to recruit another midfielder of some repute to play alongside him in a deeper and more defensive position.
McCarthy excelled playing in this role during his maiden campaign with Everton, and clearly has the qualities to provide Manchester United with what they need in a midfield set to undergo a substantial revamp.
There is better value for money elsewhere, however. Everton demonstrated with Marouane Fellaini last summer that they can command enormous fees for their prized assets, and McCarthy would be valued at a similar price.
Watch: The latest Manchester United transfer news
Real Madrid star a better bet
With Sami Khedira supposedly available at €30 million, then it would make much more sense for Manchester United to pursue the esteemed Real Madrid midfielder rather than a player who is valued at a Premier League premium.
Khedira is a Champions League winner and a veteran of two World Cups, and expectedly has numerous suitors with Real Madrid prepared to sell for an attractive fee. Manchester United have been linked with the 27-year-old German, as have Chelsea and Arsenal.
Arsenal are reported to have been the first club to formalise their interest in Khedira, and Manchester United ought to do the same in their bid to recruit a player to anchor their midfield.