Roberto Martinez insists Everton are under no pressure to cash in on James McCarthy, amid reports of interest from Manchester City.
The Etihad Stadium have taken Joleon Lescott and Jack Rodwell from Goodison Park in recent times, although both have since moved on again. It has been suggested that the Manchester club are lining up another raid on the Merseyside outfit, having targeted a deal for McCarthy after Fabian Delph surprisingly snubbed them last week in favour of remaining at Aston Villa.
Having left Wigan Athletic to be reunited with Martinez at Everton in 2013, the Republic of Ireland international has emerged as one of the best midfield players in the Premier League. The 24-year-old, who is under contract for another three years, would return a decent profit on the £13million he was bought for two years ago, but the Toffees boss insists he is under no pressure to sell.
“He’s not for sale,” said Martinez, who has just witnessed his side reach the Asia Trophy final after beating Stoke City on penalties. “My responsibility is to try to keep bringing competition into the squad. I think what we have got now is a very strong competition for places and we don’t want to lose that. We are not in a situation at this football club that we have to sell to balance the books.
“What we want is to be successful and create a winning team. James McCarthy has been a top performer in the last few seasons. At the age of 24, to be over 300 games shows the know-how he brings, together with young legs and good energy. He is a vital part of our squad. It’s important that we keep improving, and that is the only focus we have – not losing assets.”