Crystal Palace are set to bolster their midfield options after agreeing a deal to sign James McCarthy on a three-year deal, according to the Daily Mail.
The report suggests that the 28-year-old is expected to have a medical today in South London ahead of an £8m deal from Everton.
It goes on to say that McCarthy was identified as a key signing by Roy Hodgson, alongside Gary Cahill, as he wants to strengthen the spine of the side.
McCarthy has struggled for football in the past few seasons and has only played 17 league games in the past three Premier League campaigns.
The Irishman has had a lot of injury problems in the past. Most notably, he suffered a double leg fracture in January 2018, though he has been fit since October. Despite this, he has struggled to implement himself among the first team under Marco Silva, only playing once in the league last year.
Palace have a problem with their wage bill. It was said by Dominic Fifield in the Guardian that Palace have an “onerous wage bill demanding an imaginative approach to strengthening”. Signing McCarthy on a three-year deal hardly represents a light-bulb moment, considering that the player is allegedly on £50,000-per-week, according to Spotrac.
With Palace already having Luka Milivojevic, Cheikhou Kouyate, James McArthur, Max Meyer and Jeff Schlupp all capable of playing in central midfield – as well as Victor Camarasa joining – it is hard to see a place for James McCarthy in the starting XI.
Since the start of the 2014/15 season, James McCarthy has had eight separate injuries, and his most recent kept him out for 350 days (Transfermarkt). Add this to the fact that Palace had the fifth oldest squad in the Premier League last season (Transfermarkt) and you have yourself a lose-lose situation: if McCarthy gets injured he will become very difficult to get off the wage bill, if he stays fit he will block a path for a younger player, such as Nya Kirby.
The signing of McCarthy screams of lack of preparation from Crystal Palace. Palace have been linked to him for a while, but have only looked close to getting a deal done now for whatever reason.
Palace have an ageing squad and options in central midfield; they also have a 19-year-old named Nya Kirby who won the U17 World Cup in 2017 and had a successful spell at Blackpool last year. McCarthy – who could struggle to get into the first team bearing in mind the other options – will just provide another block to a young prospect coming through, while also occupying a fairly hefty wage.
With Camarasa looking likely to come off, they should be looking to spend the McCarthy wages on other positions in the squad, such as right-back or in attack, and be willing to blood Kirby into the squad.
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