Roberto Martinez must take advantage of Manchester United’s rumoured interest in Everton midfielder James McCarthy if he is serious about signing Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku this summer.
The Toffees are in danger of missing out on a deal for the Belgian after failing to stump up the cash for a bid that meets the Pensioners’ current valuation of the 21-year-old.
Signed by the Stamford Bridge club in a deal worth approximately €20 million back in August 2011, the former Anderlecht academy star would most likely cost Everton in excess of £30 million – a figure that is double the Merseysiders’ current record transfer fee.
And with the Toffees operating on a strict budget, any talk of a move may remain just that unless Roberto Martinez can raise cash from elsewhere.
One potential source could be McCarthy, who has been linked with a surprise move away from Goodison Park this summer.
Valued at around £25 million by the club following his £13 million summer move from Wigan last year, Manchester United and Tottenham are both thought to be keen on cutting a deal, though the Reds would most likely be the preferred choice given the close proximity of the club and the prestige attached.
The successful sale of McCarthy could give Everton the extra funds required to negotiate a deal with Chelsea, where Jose Mourinho appears all too happy to play hard-ball, amid reports suggesting that the Special One would be happy for Lukaku to remain at Stamford Bridge.
Everton’s best chance of landing the Belgian would therefore be by making the club an offer that is simply too good to refuse.
But with any potential bid hinging on the sale of players like McCarthy and perhaps even Seamus Coleman or Ross Barkley, Martinez could face a few difficult decisions in the coming weeks.