Everton are set to step up their interest in Wigan and Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy this week. It had come as a surprise when in the aftermath of Wigan’s opening day defeat of Barnsley, that manager Owen Coyle, admitted not only had their been no offers for the former Hamilton Academical player, but not even any inquiries.
Wigan do seem determined not to let the player leave on the cheap but it’s unlikely they will stop McCarthy from leaving outright. More likely though, Wigan, as is their right, will likely over price the 22-year-old and then accept a more reasonable price.
Newcastle could also step into contention to sign the skilled midfielder but Joe Kinnear has been sluggish in bringing in players despite that appearing to be one of the main functions of his job.
But what about McCarthy and is he a good fit and of the quality for a team like Everton.
Football commentary is increasingly becoming about two main components in it’s modern day analysis. There is the feel for a player and there are the statistics. Football is emotive. Statistics though, are playing their part. Either way, take a browse through the impressive Squawka.com website. Presuming accuracy is a certainty, McCarthys figures are impressive. In 38 Premier league appearances he scored on three occasions. Ok, not box office. He managed to create 36 chances and had an average pass accuracy of 87%.
So compare him to say Steven Gerrard. Gerrard scored 9 times and created 92 chances. Well he’s more of a tendency to break forward. Passing accuracy? 85%. McCarthy beats him on that one.
But statistics are complex, which is rather ironic, considering their function. The rise of statistics in football seems to, in some cases, muddy the waters. They can be interpreted and misinterpreted. They can be misused and misconstrued. It’s the feel of a player; how he moves, his vision, his timing, his influence. The stuff that can’t be churned out in figures.
And he is an important player for Ireland, and an influential one, most tellingly on the style and approach of the Irish team. His measured approach could be used to proper effect given the chance. Which takes us back from the future to this transfer window we’re immersed in. It’s probably typical of the man, but McCarthy has brought no attention on himself, fuss-free and quiet. Add in effective and you could fuse his personality and his style of play; they don’t always coalesce, in this case though, they do.
Everton. Newcastle. Whoever’s first out of the blocks could well succeed in securing the dexterous midfielder. The coming days might well provide us with our answer.