Martinez expects McCarthy to stay
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has indicated he expects James McCarthy to stay at the club for the rest of the season and is confident the Latics will have a “positive” January transfer window.
Reports have linked McCarthy with Liverpool and Arsenal, and Martinez claimed after the midfielder’s two-goal performance in last weekend’s 2-2 Premier League draw with QPR that the 22-year-old had “the potential to play anywhere in the world”.
The Spaniard added that “whenever he’s ready we’ll never stop him” from leaving the club, but Martinez yesterday stressed McCarthy is still developing and says the distraction of transfer talk is the last thing the Republic of Ireland international needs.
He then nodded when questioned whether or not he thought McCarthy would remain a Wigan player for the remainder of the campaign.
Asked if there had been any firm interest in McCarthy, Martinez said: “No.” Speaking this morning ahead of tomorrow’s league match at Norwich, Martinez added: “We will always feel really pleased with compliments towards our players. But James McCarthy is a young man – at 22 he is still developing.
“One day he will be challenging to win titles and to be in the highest position in the game, there is no two ways about it.
“But he is still developing and the performance that he had on Saturday shows that he is developing in the right way.
“The last thing he needs now is to be distracted from his good work and the way he is developing.” Martinez is adamant the January transfer window will only prove beneficial for the Wigan squad.
“In January, we are not going to do anything else apart from adding players that can help us in becoming a bit stronger,” he said.
Walcott ponders future
Chelsea have joined a host of Premier League clubs seeking to capitalise on Theo Walcott’s contract stand-off with Arsenal, although the England international may wait until the summer before making a decision on his future.
The 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and his refusal to commit to a new deal at Arsenal is adding to Arsene Wenger’s problems. Wenger admitted this week to being “frustrated” at the lack of progress on Walcott’s contract, with Arsenal believed to have offered the forward £75,000 a week to extend his six-year stay, but is adamant the club will not cash in on the player during January.
Chelsea are prepared to test Arsenal’s resolve with an offer for Walcott. They are likely to be rivalled by Liverpool, while both Manchester clubs are also monitoring the situation. Walcott, however, is expected to delay any decision until, as a free agent, he could have his pick of the Premier League’s leading clubs and command a lucrative salary.
The forward has repeatedly said money is not the reason for his stand-off with Arsenal but he does want assurances from Wenger about being played as a striker. But Walcott is aware that other clubs will better Arsenal’s offer.
Champions League football will also be a factor in Walcott’s final decision.