James McCarthy reportedly keen on Celtic move; but the Bhoys don't need him

By Euan Davidson

December 23, 2020

List the things Celtic need in the January transfer window.

Go on. I’ll wait.

Alright, I bet that there’s a goalkeeper, full-backs, a central defender and maybe a second-choice striker on there. If so, well done, you’re right.

Did your list include 30-year-old Ireland midfielder James McCarthy? If not, you differ from Celtic, according to Eurosport. The site claims:

“McCarthy grew up as a Celtic supporter and is aware of the interest. Sources say he would be keen on the move as he is currently not figuring for Palace in the Premier League.”

James McCarthy on duty with the Republic of Ireland / (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Do Celtic actually need him?

Rumours about James McCarthy have popped up before. They’ve not led to anything concrete in the past, and we’d be surprised if they did now.

Furthermore, would McCarthy actually benefit the Celtic squad?

The Crystal Palace midfielder has barely featured for the Eagles this season, managing just 332 minutes for Roy Hodgson’s side (WhoScored?). The robust midfield ball-winner is technically sound, knows the league, and has international experience.

Valued at £4.05m by Transfermarkt, there’s little to suggest he wouldn’t want to spend the Autumn of his career with his boyhood club. Especially, that is, with a historic 10-in-a-row still in play.

Yet, our midfield is stacked. Bloated, even. Brown and McGregor are usually nailed-on for a start. David Turnbull and Ryan Christie should play centrally, offering vast creativity. Ismaila Soro is a star in the making, while Ewan Henderson, Ewan Otoo and Luca Connell also prefer to play through the middle. Ntcham probably needs punted, but nothing is guaranteed there.

Yes; McCarthy’s a Celtic supporter. So am I, it doesn’t mean I’ll get anywhere near the first-team.

Reported Celtic target James McCarthy / (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Nice idea, but difficult to envision

It’s not impossible to imagine McCarthy in a Celtic shirt. He did, after all, play for the club’s academy. That is before Celtic foolishly let him walk to Hamilton Accies.

The former Wigan and Everton man is a proven, quality player. I’m not disputing that for a second. It’s just that the Bhoys aren’t made of money. £4.5m is a lot for Celtic to spend on a squad option.

There’s no guarantee that McCarthy would start, and that’s not a knock on him. It’s just that the midfield is Celtic’s strongest area. There are youthful, exciting options there already. To send them further down the pecking order would be an aberration.

So, aye. It’s a romantic notion, but so was signing Shane Duffy. Linking Celtic fans to to multi-million pound moves for self-declared “fans” is just lazy. You don’t see it that much with other clubs; especially not those who consider themselves to be elite.