James McCarthy could join Celtic for free as rumour resurfaces

By John McGinley

January 21, 2021

Celtic are one of six teams interesting in signing Crystal Palace midfielder James McCarthy, The Daily Mail reports.

The paper believes Celtic are in the hunt to land McCarthy on a pre-contract basis, with his current deal expiring at Palace come the end of the season.

Burnley, West Ham, Brighton, West Brom and Bournemouth are all also said to be weighing up an offer.

It’s said Roy Hodgson remains an admirer of the Republic of Ireland international, who he once dubbed a ‘class player’, but Celtic could now pick him up for nothing.

James McCarthy to Celtic is a familiar rumour

Unless you’ve been living on the moon for the last ten years, you’ll know this isn’t the first time McCarthy has been linked to Celtic.

He’s a boyhood Hoops fan and plays at a high level. Therefore, almost every transfer window there is a story from somewhere suggesting that a return to Scotland is on the cards.

It’s a little more credible this time given his contract situation. He also can’t get a regular game with Palace at the moment.

He’s only made eight appearances this term, but did start their last match against Manchester City.

McCarthy has vast experience

McCarthy may not be the young attacking midfielder full of potential that he once was. However, what he lacks in long-term potential at 30 years of age he makes up with experience.

The 42-cap international has made a massive 263 appearances in the English Premier League, with 37 more coming in the Scottish top-flight [Transfermarkt].

Reported Celtic target James McCarthy / (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Signing that kind of expertise on a free transfer could prove to be a shrewd bit of business. That’s especially true if Scott Brown is hanging up his boots.

There’s an argument that says we don’t need any more central midfielders. That’s fair, but in a year of transition, would a bargain move for McCarthy be the worst idea? Not for me.

In other news, Celtic fans are angry tonight.