Last summer Everton won a midfielder signings battle with Manchester United. They flogged the club Marouane Fellaini for the price of £27.5 million and at the same time brought in James McCarthy - a more agile, adept and versatile option for less than half the price at £13 million from Wigan Athletic.
Now a year down the line United are reportedly happy to let Fellaini go and some reports have claimed the club is interested in McCarthy to bolster their midfield options.
It was the end of July when links emerged suggesting United could move for the player, and McCarthy accidentally fuelled those flames when he stated:
“If a club like Manchester United are interested, obviously you are doing a good job. We will see what happens.”
He went on to clarify he had no interest in an immediate departure, and now Roberto Martinez has made it very clear that Manchester United have no chance of signing the player, who Everton are said to value at a figure close to £25 million.
In his press conference this morning Martinez stated:
"For me James McCarthy is one of the best midfielders in the league. I’m not surprised if people are being complimentary about him, but his future is clearly at Everton. He is an exciting player.”
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is said to be keen to add another option to the heart of midfield, and the likes of Arturo Vidal, the fan choice, has been linked. Meanwhile Marco Rojo and Daley Blind are also rumoured targets - and both can play in central midfield when called upon.
But if McCarthy was one of those options, Martinez has just slammed the door shut on Manchester United.
Is McCarthy one of the best midfielders in the league?