It is being reported this weekend that Manchester United are looking to hijack any interest Liverpool may have in Wigan Athletic midfielder James McCarthy by readying their own £10 million bid for the Irish star.
There is little doubt that the 22-year-old will be hot property on the transfer market this summer - in particular if they are relegated from the Premier League.
While in December Wigan made their declaration of ‘not for sale’ more than clear if they are to finally surrender their top-flight status after years of near-run finishes it would be very hard for them to hold on to a player clearly worthy of playing at a higher status.
The news that Manchester United may now be lurking around the talented midfielder is sure to urge Liverpool into life in regards to their own pursuit of the player; and rightly so.
It is well known that Brendan Rodgers is a fan of the player with his age, technical ability and British nationality all major calling cards of Rodger’s philosophy and recruitment charge.
But this would have to be third time lucky for The Reds as many of you know McCarthy has already rejected the club not once - but twice!
The first time he rejected the Lure of Anfield was as a highly rated 16-year-old so we are going back six odd years here. Celtic, Reading, Rangers, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur were all linked with his signature that summer when McCarthy was playing for unfashionable Scottish outfit Hamilton. He had just had a breakout season with The Accies and played 24 times in the First Division so there was reason behind the £1 million enquiries.
But his agent Bill McMurdo revealed that James had in fact rejected the move to Merseyside himself; feeling the time was not yet right for a major upheaval in his life;
"Liverpool wanted to take him to Italy for a tournament last week. They agreed to meet Hamilton's asking price, which would have earned them around £1m if James made the grade. But he has decided that he wants to stay with Hamilton for another year. I can't fault his judgement. He has only just left school and is from a close family. If he feels happier waiting for another season then that is the right thing to do."
No dice there but again just prior to joining Wigan he said thanks but no thanks to Liverpool’s admiring eye as confirmed by Roberto Martinez in 2010:
“I have always been a big admirer of James and I followed his career for a long time. When a youngster gets to play at such a young age it makes you sit up and take notice. That meant I was delighted when he made that rather strange decision not to go to a top, top club like Liverpool. I think that decision is being proved [correct] right now.”
But if this summer he decided to join Liverpool’s mortal enemies Manchester United there is little doubt he would never touch a ball at Anfield ever again without receiving a chorus of boos from the unforgiving Anfield hoards. And they have very good memories.
image: © illarterate