Why James McCarthy Would Be A Perfect Replacement For Darren Fletcher At West Bromwich Albion
Last week, the Daily Mail reported that West Bromwich Albion had lodged an enquiry for Everton midfielder James McCarthy in order to acquire his services ahead of the next season. Not long after that report emerged, The Mirror claimed that the Baggies were in the pole position to sign the Republic of Ireland international.
The 26-year old midfielder was sparingly used by manager Ronald Koeman over the course of the last season as injuries and poor form conspired to keep him out of regular action. As a result, McCarthy made just 12 league appearances, only 5 of which were from the start. He managed a goal and an assist in his handful of appearances.
With the Toffees bringing in the likes of Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin over the past year and the emergence of the young Tom Davies from the youth ranks, it is unlikely that the Irishman will fare better in terms of first team football in the next campaign, which could prompt him to consider a move away from the Goodison Park in the summer.
The Baggies had a comfortable season for large phases, until a difficult end to the season saw them finish 10th in the Premier League table. Manager Tony Pulis remains keen on establishing the club as a top half team in the top flight.
To that end, in the past year or so, the club have shown great ambition and have invested in attracting quality players like Nacer Chadli and Jake Livermore. And it looks like the spending is set to continue ahead of the next season as they are all set to splurge in the market to bring McCarthy in, who is valued in the range of £20-£25 million by the Toffees.
Having lost former captain Darren Fletcher to Stoke City earlier this month for free, West Brom will need to add another player in the middle of the park, to offer competition to Claudio Yacob and Jake Livermore. McCarthy could prove to be the ideal replacement for the Scottish international.
The 26-year old may not have played a lot last term, but has garnered plenty of experience in the Premier League, having been with Everton since the summer of 2013. He has racked up a total of 126 appearances for the Merseysiders in this period and has proven himself at this level for years now.
His ability to thread a pass to his teammates in the advanced areas, combined with the tenacity and the defensive steel that he will add to the midfield will definitely be of great help for the Baggies. His presence will bring an added level of energy and dynamism to West Brom’s midfield engine room. McCarthy’s ability to play in varied roles in the middle of the park, be it as a No.10 or as a holding midfielder will provide Pulis with several options at his disposal. The fact that he can chip in with crucial goals regularly will make him an upgrade on Fletcher.
Darren Fletcher had become a key member of the Baggies’ setup under Pulis and his experience and know-how was one of the main reasons in West Brom improving so much over the past two years. While his loss will definitely sting, McCarthy has all the attributes needed to fill in the former skipper’s vacant boots at the Hawthorns. At 26, he is close to hitting the peak of his career and if West Brom manage to get him in the summer, they will have brought in a player who will soon be at his prime and can be of great service to the team.