By Russell Edge
Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez wants to take Everton midfielder James McCarthy to St James’ Park in a deal worth £20m, according to a report.
The Daily Mail claim that the former Liverpool boss has the Republic of Ireland central midfielder on his shortlist as he looks to bring in players with Premier League experience ahead of their return to the top flight next season.
The report claims that McCarthy is keen to leave Goodison Park this summer after a lack of first team opportunities, which were hampered by a hamstring injury.
McCarthy, who is contracted at Everton until 2020, has endured a difficult season which has seen him make just seven starts in the league and 12 appearances in total, scoring a solitary goal.
The Telegraph claims that Benitez will be given a £70m transfer budget to work with this summer and it seems he is willing to use a large chunk of that to bring the 26-year-old international to St James’ Park.
McCarthy was linked with Newcastle in January too, when the Daily Mail claimed they had tabled a £16million club-record bid, only to be told the player was not for sale.
The £20million would shatter the Newcastle transfer record, which was set when the club signed Michael Owen for £16million in 2005.
Football Insider verdict:
Experience is going to be crucial for Newcastle in this transfer window. Benitez proved it last season, signing the likes of Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle for their Championship fight, and it will be what he aims to do again. However, £20m is a significant outlay for a fringe player at Everton, and it would be the most expensive signing the Magpies have ever made, ahead of Michael Owen for £17m. McCarthy is without doubt a Premier League quality player, but owner Mike Ashley will be questioning whether he is value for money. It is claimed Benitez wants to bring in up to eight players this summer, but by spending that sort of money on just one, he will have a tough time managing that budget.
In other Newcastle news, Benitez has revealed his plans for the summer transfer window.