Everton can now pair midfield duo who very nearly signed for Liverpool

Gareth Barry At Villa

Gareth Barry and James McCarthy have both come extremely close to signing for Liverpool in their careers.

Everton were busy on deadline day, arguably doing some of the best business. They lost Maraoune Fellaini and Victor Anichebe, obviously big losses, but gained James McCarthy, Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry in the process - all quality additions.

The addition of both McCarthy and Barry is almost a way of replacing Fellaini - with both of their combined talents easily compensating for the loss of the Belgian.

And while the deals are great from a footballing perspective, they do a fair bit for the bragging rights as well.

Everton haven’t had much to cheer about when it comes to their Merseyside rivals recently, but the gap has recently started to close up between the two teams again recently - with The Toffees even finishing above their nemesis in the Premier League last campaign.

But in this case the club have signed two players who at different points in their career could have just as easily been playing on the red side of Stanley Park.

Gareth Barry was publicly chased by Liverpool and Rafa Benitez in May 2008 - and he alienated himself from the fans by announcing that he wanted to leave and that Martin O’Neill was making no attempt to keep him at the club. He was even stripped of the club captaincy, fined two weeks wages and banned from training.

In the end he stayed at Villa, and with Benitez no longer at Liverpool their interest dried up - his next move took him to Manchester City in 2009.

James McCarthy however has had two chances to become a red.

The first time he rejected the lure of Anfield was as a highly rated 16-year-old. 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.

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.”

Now the pair could form the crux of an Everton midfield in the future that will be made up of two players who were slipped right through the fingers of Liverpool Football Club.

How can that not make an Everton fan smile!

image: © dalli

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