Everton offer key midfielder new contract to ward off interest from Manchester United

Amid reported interest from Manchester United, Everton are allegedly set to hand midfielder James McCarthy a new contract to stay on Merseyside.

Despite losing David Moyes to Manchester United last summer, Everton have gone from strength to strength since the Scot's exit. Roberto Martinez came in from Wigan, and the Toffees racked up their highest Premier League points tally ever, and finished fifth after a spirited fight for fourth place with Arsenal.

Martinez's work at Wigan was well documented, and he was certainly unfortunate to have been relegated with the Latics in 2013. However, that wasn't enough to put the Spaniard off some of his squad, as he brought goalkeeper Joel, midfielder James McCarthy and striker Arouna Kone to Goodison Park with him.

Joel largely played as a backup to first choice stopper Tim Howard and Ivorian international Kone was ruled out injured for the majority of the campaign, but it wasn't all disappointment as McCarthy was one of the stars of Everton's season, forming an excellent partnership with Gareth Barry in midfield.

Brought in as a replacement for Marouane Fellaini - who also left in order to join Manchester United - McCarthy exceeded expectations and is now an indispensable cog of the Everton operation. It now seems that Martinez is intent on keeping McCarthy at the club for the long term after reports surfaced of a new contract offer.

The Republic of Ireland international, 23, has recently drawn interest from Louis van Gaal's Manchester United, with central midfield still a concern at Old Trafford - despite the recent additions of Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind. With the plans to extend his contract, McCarthy would join fellow youngsters John Stones and Ross Barkley in agreeing to stay at Goodison Park - once again adding to the feel good factor currently surrounding the club.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch