According to the latest reports from the Mirror (print edition page 66, Sunday, January 13, 2019), Celtic are looking to sign Everton midfielder James McCarthy on loan, and it is believed that they are confident of landing his services. English clubs like Fulham, West Brom, Bournemouth and Aston Villa have made enquiries about the midfielder, but Celtic’s major competitor are said to be West Ham United. However, the Hoops should feel like they have it in them to beat the Hammers to his signature.
The reason why Celtic should feel confident about landing him is because McCarthy was part of the Celtic team in his u-17 days and that should pip the scales in their favour in terms of luring the midfielder. Everton are reportedly willing to let him leave on loan as the midfielder is making a comeback from an injury and the Toffees would hope that a loan spell can bring him back to his best.
Celtic have decent cover in the midfield department, but the performances of Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham have been underwhelming for quite some time. Rodgers had also indicated that Youssouf Mulumbu could be sent out (Daily Record) on loan. Therefore bringing a good ball playing midfielder might not be a bad idea from the club.
With Europa League fixtures to contest in, Celtic need to have enough depth to their squad and given the tight title race, they cannot afford to play in the Scottish Premiership in an autopilot mode like they have been doing in the past two seasons. Brown especially looked off the pace in the Old Firm derby and Rodgers would definitely be worried seeing his captain’s performance.
Ntcham too hasn’t instilled any confidence in the manager given the talent he possesses, and a signing like McCarthy might just be what the Hoops need as that would provide a kick to the backside of the French midfielder knowing that somebody is there to grab his place if he slips up. On current form, McCarthy might even be a better option though it remains to be seen how the Irish midfielder would cope up after coming back from such a serious injury.
McCarthy has the experience of playing in over 200 games in the Premier League and he would definitely be a decent signing this month. His experience and calmness on the ball should give the manager more options, and along with that, he can play in various roles in midfield if required.
However, his fitness remains a big concern and if the club is satisfied with his progress on that level, then they should go ahead and try to snap him up on loan.
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