Quick links



Celtic could have signed £25m Arsenal target James McCarthy for just £1m in 2009

Celtic were close to signing Everton midfielder James McCarthy in 2009 but failed to stump up the extra £500k to secure his signature - just how costly was that mistake?

Is James McCarthy the worst £1 million Celtic never spent?

The SPL side decided not to double their £500,000 offer on the Hamilton midfielder in 2009 - and now he is reportedly worth an eye-watering sum.

According to the Daily Mail, in a report dated 15th May 2009, Celtic had a bid of £500,000 rejected for then Republic of Ireland Under-21 midfielder and were unwilling to match the offers from English clubs that were closer to the seven-figure mark. 

At the time, McCarthy's agent Willie McKay was very keen on Hamilton and Celtic thrashing out a deal due to the player's heart being set on Parkhead.

''Moving to Celtic would be a great opportunity for James,'' Mckay said in 2009.

''Celtic would provide the chance of Champions League football and would be the right step at this stage of his career.

''I think Hamilton and Celtic need to enter into a dialogue.'' 

Nevertheless, the move never came to fruition and McCarthy eventually left Hamilton for Premier League side Wigan that summer for a fee believed to be around the £1 million mark. 

The decision to bank the extra £500,000 it would have took to sign him has already proven a costly mistake once, due to his £13 million move from Wigan to Everton, but could prove even more so if the potential £25 million January move to Arsenal does go ahead. 

Irrespective of the fees the player has and has the potential to bring in, McCarthy has proven himself as one of the top central midfielders in the Premier League over the past few seasons and is currently considered a key player in a side gunning for European football. 

The ability and value of the player today makes Celtic's decision to hold out on making a £1 million bid seem incredible, especially considering they comfortably had the finances to strike the deal. 

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch