Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have been dealt a blow in their alleged pursuit of James McCarthy after Everton manager Roberto Martinez confirmed plans to offer the midfielder a new contract.
The Daily Star reports how the Republic of Ireland international impressed so much during his debut season at Goodison Park that he is set to be handsomely rewarded with the offer of an improved long-term deal.
Martinez has already tied down the respective futures of Ross Barkley and John Stones amid growing interest in their respective signatures from Premier League rivals, and now he wants to secure the services of the 23-year-old for the foreseeable future.
Man United interest?
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal has been mooted as an admirer of McCarthy as he looks to further strengthen his midfield ranks at Old Trafford ahead of the new season. The £24 million capture of Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao has gone some way to solving the problem position, but the Dutch coach is keen to add another.
However, any hopes he might have held of luring the £25 million-rated star to Manchester United have been hampered by news of Martinez's intention to open negotiations with the player.
Roberto Martinez quotes:
"We will always be looking at rewarding players as they do well and James, clearly, is one of those," explained the former Wigan Athletic manager in an interview with the Liverpool Echo.
"We always want to keep our young players important at the club and keep rewarding them. That will never change. That goes along with players who change their roles in the squad.
"We talk a lot about our young players and rightly so, but sometimes we forget that without that solid base of experienced lads behind them you don't go anywhere.
"We must remember that we have continuity too which is vital."
Arsene Wenger is also believed to be a huge fan of McCarthy's as he too seeks to add a defensive midfielder to his Arsenal squad before the transfer deadline.
The Gunners have been particularly active during the summer window, already bringing Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers to the Emirates Stadium in preparation for a serious tilt at the Premier League title in 2014/15.
North London rivals Spurs are another club to have been credited with an interest in the former Hamilton Academical star, with Mauricio Pochettino happy to try and lure the player to White Hart Lane.
Everton paid £13 million to bring McCarthy to Merseyside last summer, following in the footsteps of Martinez moving from the DW Stadium to Goodison Park. The Irishman proved an instant success at his new club, making 34 appearances and scoring one goal.