By Tom Blackburn

Celtic and Newcastle have been dealt a huge blow to their hopes of signing Everton midfielder James McCarthy, as manager Ronald Koeman says he is not for sale.

McCarthy has a groin injury which may need surgery, and Koeman says he is someone that needs to stay at the club.

“No,” said Koeman when asked if McCarthy would be leaving, via the Herald. “There is more interest in players of Everton and we like to keep everybody and players like McCarthy need to stay.

“He has a groin problem. We need to decide if it is an operation, yes or no.”

The Mail claimed this week that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers had initiated a move to bring McCarthy to Parkhead and would see off interest in the player from Sunderland, Watford, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Championship big hitters Newcastle.

The Mail then claimed on Sunday morning that Newcastle were set to submit a formal offer for the 25-year-old midfielder, who has been slapped with a £20million price tag by the Premier League club.

Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder claimed on his personal Twitter account that there has been no bid from the Magpies yet, but made no comment on whether there would be an approach before the transfer deadline – though it now appears irrelevant.

The 25-year-old midfielder has fallen down the pecking order at Goodison Park with the arrival of Aston Villa’s Idrissa Gueye, and was even played out of position at right-back in the Toffees’ first two league games.

Ronald Koeman has an array of midfielders available to him, with Gueye, Darren Gibson, Tom Cleverley, Muhamed Besic, Gareth Barry, and even playmaker Ross Barkley all recognised as possible options.

McCarthy has been a mainstay in the Everton side following his £13million move from Wigan three years ago, and has four years remaining on his Goodison Park deal.

In the last three seasons, the former Hamilton star has made 113 league and cup encounters for the Toffees and has since become popular among the Merseyside club’s fanbase.

Everton’s number 16 is renowned for his impressive array of passing, as well as his ability to break up opposition play.

In other Everton transfer news, Premier League giants eye a move for their midfield target.