JAMES McCarthy is ready to commit his long-term future to Wigan Athletic – and the Evening Post understands a deal is imminent.
The 20-year-old still has almost three years remaining on the five-year deal he signed when joining from Hamilton in the summer of 2009. But after establishing himself as one of the most promising midfielders in the Premier League, McCarthy has alerted the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool to his undoubted ability.
Arsenal in particular have cash to spend and a midfield vacancy to fill after selling Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona earlier in the week.
However, McCarthy insists he is happy to stay at Wigan, despite continued speculation over his future.
The Republic of Ireland international has also quashed recent reports in the national press that contract talks between himself and the club had broken down.
“I’ve spoken to the club and I’m waiting for them to get back to me,” McCarthy told the Evening Post.
“To be honest, I’m not too sure where some papers get their stories from, because nothing like that has happened at all.
“As far as I’m concerned, the contract talks haven’t broken down, everything is fine, we’re still talking and we’ll see what happens.
“It does annoy me a bit to be seeing my name in the papers for the wrong reasons. But hopefully it (the talks) goes well. The gaffer has always been great with me on that score.
“All I want to do is get my head down and concentrate on helping Wigan start the season well.”
McCarthy will hopefully be the first of many Wigan stars to commit their futures to the club, with several of his team-mates entering the last year of their present contracts.
Those include Ben Watson, Momo Diame, Maynor Figueroa, Hendry Thomas and Hugo Rodallega, with Martinez anxious to keep together the squad that ended last term on such a high.
It’s a busy time for Martinez, who is also trying to bring in ‘two or three’ new players to bolster his squad ahead of the transfer deadline.
Manchester City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips remains a target, although hopes of West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie joining Latics appear to be fading with the Baggies having reportedly placed an £8million fee on his head after rejecting Wigan’s opening bid of around £4million.
“I think that’s the end of it, to be honest, and we understand West Brom’s position,” admitted Martinez.
WIGAN’S Development Squad made the perfect start to the 2011-12 campaign with a 3-1 victory at Fulham.
Skipper Daniel Redmond equalised for Latics from the penalty spot after the home side had taken a first-minute lead, and two goals from Jordan Rugg made the game safe for Graham Barrow’s charges.