Everton looking to extend McCarthy contract

Everton are set to open preliminary talks with central midfielder James McCarthy over a possible contract extension, as they look to stave off interest in the Irishman, according to ESPN.

Premier League rivals Arsenal have been heavily linked with the player in recent days, with some reports suggesting that they were preparing a £16m January offer, although they were quickly laughed off by Toffees boss Roberto Martinez, who is keen to ensure that McCarthy stays at Goodison Park for the long-term.

The 24-year-old followed Martinez to Everton in the summer of 2013 after the duo had worked together for four years at Wigan Athletic, and his consistent performances have caught the eye. The £15m spent by Everton to bring McCarthy in was then a club-record transfer, as he signed a lengthy contract.

However, Martinez is seeking to negotiate new and improved terms to avoid McCarthy leaving in the coming months, while the Spaniard recently hinted that several more of his players could be offered new deals.

A regular alongside Gareth Barry in the centre of the field, McCarthy has scored one goal in 55 appearances for the Merseyside club.

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