Everton are set to spark a transfer scramble for Wigan midfield star James McCarthy after making the first move in the race for the Irish star.
According to the Sunday People former Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, now in charge at Goodison Park, has set to return to his former club with a £12 million offer for the talented 22 year old.
That offer will be blocked by the now Championship side with Chairman Dave Whelan holding out for a sum closer to £20 million.
The Glasgow born Irish international is highly rated in Premiership circles and has emerged as a composed ball playing midfielder under the tutelage of Martinez.
McCarthy joined the club from Scottish side Hamilton in 2009 and has gone from strength to strength with his all action performances drawing comparison to Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard.
Liverpool are just one of the club’s keen on the star with Arsenal, Spurs and a host of other club also interested however Everton look set to make the first move.
Martinez has already raided the DW for Arouna Kone with Joel Robles and Antolin Alcaraz also moving to the Toffees. The Spaniard also took his backroom staff with him to Goodison Park but Whelan looks set to finally put his foot down with a move for McCarthy.
The Spaniard is not finished yet however and wants McCarthy are missing out on Victor Wanyama, who joined Southampton.
McCarthy started all 38 of Wigan’s Premier League games last season scoring 3 goals and assisting 2 as the club suffered relegation to the Championship.
It was a bitter-sweet campaign for the 15 times capped Irish star with the pain of dropping down a division eased somewhat by a FA cup medal and his emergence as a vital clog in International manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s midfield plans.
Meanwhile Martinez has been dealt a blow in his move for Juventus striker Alessandro Matri.
The 28 year old, capped 5 times by Italy, has two years of his contract in Turin but has been linked with a move away following the summer arrivals of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente.
Matri has scored 27 goals in 69 games since joining from Cagliari in a €15.5 million deal in 2011 but despite his desire to stay with the club looks set to be moved on during the summer.
Everton were believed to be keen on the striker but have baulked at the £12 million asking price the ‘Old Lady’ have played on Matri and will now look elsewhere for striking reinforcements.