Everton midfielder James McCarthy is ready to quit Goodison Park this summer after growing frustrated by the fact the club have failed to offer him a new contract.
The Republic of Ireland international has established himself as one of Roberto Martinez's most important players, but remains one of the lowest earners in the first-team squad.
McCarthy joined Everton from Wigan Athletic on summer deadline day in 2013, following his old Latics boss to Merseyside after he was appointed as successor to David Moyes when he defected to Old Trafford.
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The 24-year-old enjoyed an impressive debut campaign and started 27 Premier League games for the club again in 2014/15, but has so far not been rewarded for his development and rising influence in the senior side.
It's a sore subject that's been made worse by the fact that several of McCarthy's team-mates have been handed new deals, whilst Martinez also signed an extension to commit his long-term future to Everton.
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Cleverley's free transfer arrival has also seen the Red Devils reject immediately become one of the highest paid players on the club's books, whilst also providing direct competition for an increasingly disgruntled McCarthy.
The disrespect that the midfielder feels he's been shown could force him out of the exit door this summer, with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur both reportedly interested in acquiring his signature.
"This is not about money, in no way shape or form," confirmed a Goal.com source. "It is about respect, and there is little doubting that James and his representatives feel that that Everton have shown him very little in the past 12 months.
"It is now a matter of principle."
Losing a player of McCarthy's calibre would be a huge blow to Everton this close-season, although it's early enough in the summer for Martinez to try and find a suitable successor.
Cleverley's capture could well be viewed as a like-for-like replacement, providing the newbie can reproduce the kind of form that he showed towards the end of last season whilst on loan at Aston Villa, and not the underwhelming level of performances at Manchester United.
Louis van Gaal certainly deemed the former England international not good enough for the Red Devils shirt, but only time will tell whether he has what it takes to forge a successful career in the Premier League.
Everton fans: Do you think James McCarthy is right to be upset with the way he's been treated by senior chiefs at Goodison Park? How much would you be willing to pay to keep him on Merseyside? Have your say below…
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