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Forget it Bruce – Newcastle would be better off avoiding this 30-year-old Palace star and here’s why

Crystal Palace's Scottish-born Irish midfielder James McCarthy (L) passes the ball away from Burnley's Dutch defender Erik Pieters during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park in south London on June 29, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Why Newcastle should avoid a move for James McCarthy

According to 90Min (h/t Brighton and Hove Independent), Newcastle United are weighing up an offer to sign James McCarthy from Premier League rivals Crystal Palace in the January window.

It has been claimed that Magpies boss Steve Bruce is a big fan of the Republic of Ireland international and has even tried to sign him in the past. Newcastle are likely to face stiff competition, though, with Sheffield United, West Brom, Burnley, as well as Scottish giants Celtic, also understood to be vying for the midfielder’s signature. (90min h/t B&H Independent)

As per the report, Palace are expected to listen to offers for McCarthy, whose contract at Selhurst Park is due to expire at the end of the season. The 30-year-old joined the Eagles from Everton back in 2019 and went on to feature 33 times in the Premier League during his first season in south-east London. 

However, the former Hamilton Academical graduate has struggled for playtime in the ongoing campaign. McCarthy has been limited to just 4 starts in the Premier League for Palace so far, finding himself down the pecking order under Roy Hodgson. 

james McCarthy during his time at Everton (Getty Images)
James McCarthy during his time at Everton (Getty Images)

Putting things into context, Newcastle would dodge a bullet by resisting the temptation to snap up James McCarthy for a knockdown price in the winter market. The door remains open for the Magpies to lure the Irishman to Tyneside, given his unresolved contract scenario at Palace. But he’s not someone that Newcastle need at the moment.

It’s true that the Magpies should weigh up potential additions to their squad in the January window to push for a top-ten finish in the Premier League.

Newcastle roped in Jeff Hendrick on a free transfer from Burnley in the summer to bolster their midfield cavalry. The Irishman has made a positive impact so far while the likes of Sean Longstaff, Matty Longstaff, Jonjoe Shelvey and Isaac Hayden have all done a decent job.

With five players already competing for places in the middle, the Magpies don’t really need more depth in that department. 

James McCarthy (R) in action against Manchester United (Getty Images)
James McCarthy (R) in action against Manchester United (Getty Images)

McCarthy would still offer value for money on a cut-price deal, given his vast experience in the Premier League. But he has looked like a shadow of his former influential self after returning from a hellish streak of long-term injuries at Everton.

Now 30, there are plenty of doubts over whether he is still capable of playing at a high level in the Premier League week in week out.

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Verdict

With so many pressing concerns at both ends of the pitch, Newcastle don’t really need to invest in a struggling player like James McCarthy. Bruce already has an excellent blend of youth and experience in his midfield, thus making a gamble on the Irishman a rather unnecessary piece of business in the market.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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