Having signed Paulinho already this summer, Tottenham Hotspur’s reported interest in Wigan Athletic’s James McCarthy would seem to be final confirmation that Andre Villas-Boas was looking to stockpile central midfielders ahead of a switch to a 4-3-3 formation next season.
Everton are also interested in the 22-year-old, who impressed throughout last season even as Wigan slipped into the Championship, with Roberto Martinez fully aware of the ability of his former charge.
Wigan apparently value McCarthy at around £20million, and although the player is likely to leave for less than that, they will be hoping a battle between several Premier League sides might develop this summer.
This could see Everton miss out, but McCarthy himself should hope this is not the case, with a move to the Toffees surely his best option this summer.
Even if Spurs ship out Scott Parker, Jake Livermore and Tim Huddlestone this season, McCarthy will have no guarantees of first team football at White Hart Lane, and at Everton he not only has more chance of regular starts, he has a manager who knows exactly how to get the best out of him.
Martinez brought the 22-year-old to the Premier League from Hamilton Academicals in 2009, and has overseen his development since then as McCarthy became one of the most highly-rated young midfielders in the Premier League.
Even if Wigan had stayed up last season, the time was right for McCarthy to make the next step in his career, and he should view it as a lucky break that he can take that step under Roberto Martinez.
If Everton are priced out of a move for McCarthy then the 22-year-old will have to look elsewhere, and Spurs could be a good option if he believes he can force himself into their first team. But if Everton are in the running, then it seems clear that McCarthy should join Martinez at Goodison Park this summer.
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