Futures of Irish soccer duo McCarthy and Doyle in balance
THE short-term futures of Irish pair James McCarthy and Kevin Doyle could be determined by whether Gareth Bale and Gary Hooper are sold by Tottenham Hotspur and Celtic respectively.
Andre Villas-Boas is interested in signing McCarthy, but Spurs have baulked at the asking price, which is believed to be in the region of £20m.
The Londoners are looking to pay half that amount and have floated a player-plus-cash deal. However, their stance could soften if they generate substantial funds by selling Bale to Madrid in a transfer that could yield in excess of £80m.
Roberto Martinez is also keen on a reunion with the 22-year-old midfielder at Everton, but he fears they would be unable to afford a move for the Glaswegian if they ended up in a bidding war with Spurs, who want McCarthy as a replacement for Scott Parker. Chelsea and Arsenal have both monitored the player in the past, but Spurs have shown more desire to secure his signature. Giovanni Trapattoni last week gave his approval to the switch.
Doyle needs a transfer to help his case for an international recall – with little prospect of figuring from League One – and a switch to Celtic would interest the Wexford native. A delay in Hooper's on-off transfer to QPR has complicated Neil Lennon's ability to make a firm move in the striking department and Doyle is one of his targets.
Wolves expect to lose Doyle before the close of the transfer window and would be keen to get him off the wage bill. But he has two years remaining on a lucrative contract, so a season-long loan is an alternative to a permanent switch.
Celtic tried to bring Doyle to Parkhead in January to boost their squad for the Champions League knockout stages and the player was extremely disappointed when the proposed switch fell through.
Lennon wants to bring in a frontman by tomorrow night in order to have them registered for next week's Champions League tie with Elfsborg, although Doyle would face a race against time to prove his fitness for that encounter. The 29-year-old is on the comeback trail from injury and was involved in a behind-closed-doors friendly with West Ham last weekend; the Hammers have also been linked with a move for his services.
Doyle has been given a squad number for the new season at Wolves, which is more than can be said for Stephen Ward, who is shirtless ahead of the new campaign. Kenny Jackett has made it clear that Ward is not part of his plans and has left the ex-Bohemians man off his list. His former boss Mick McCarthy is monitoring Ward's situation with a view to bringing him to Ipswich.