As the transfer season is now in full swing, one player that will arguably be crucial to the plight of several leading Premier League teams is James McCarthy. A skilled midfielder who has certainly achieved all he can at Wigan, the question as to where he ends up next season must be occupying the minds of numerous managers across Europe.
Nowadays the actual skill level on display from the vast majority of central midfield players is limited in comparison to players of 5-10 years ago. Seriously can anyone justify Tom Cleverley’s inclusion in the England and Manchester United teams over the last twelve months? I use the Cleverley anecdote as the basis behind my argument as to why McCarthy may be perhaps the most in-demand central midfield player this summer. As cultured as he is gifted, if he was English he would be celebrated by the Fleet Street press in a similar vein to Jack Wilshere.
Over the last year, his game has evolved tremendously to the extent that he is now a central figure on the international stage and dominated Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick during the Irish English friendly a week ago. His use of the ball, i.e. the ability to keep possession, is a skill that the vast majority of players in the Premier League currently lack. Not inclined to crave attention or praise from the press is the sign of a player who is comfortable in his own ability and his pass completion statistics for the 2012-2013 season were equally impressive.
Frankly speaking, what manager of a top six club wouldn’t be interested in a player that would cost under £10 million, doesn’t give the ball away, is two-footed and can score, tackle and defend? Certainly if I was given the option of taking Cleverley or McCarthy I know who I would pick. This is not to take anything away from the ability of Cleverley. He is a fine player, but he is not a Manchester United player. McCarthy is the type of player who, if surrounded by more talented players, will flourish and for my money become one of the dominant central midfield players of the Premier League for years to come.
His next club will be interesting as it appears he will be afforded several options. The smart money would be on him moving to Everton. Yet I suspect either Spurs, Arsenal or United will make him an offer. A player of his ability should be gracing the European stage and therefore, I’d suggest he will end up at one of the three aforementioned clubs. Whether he reaches the heights I referenced earlier remains to be seen, but players of his ilk don’t come around too often and I suspect we will be hearing a lot more about McCarthy over the months and years to come.