NEWCASTLE United are interested in Wigan Athletic’s James McCarthy, Latics chairman Dave Whelan has claimed.
However, Whelan has insisted that the Magpies have not yet made a “real offer” for the Irish international, with United uncertain whether to make a bid of more than £10m.
Wigan’s valuation of the 22-year-old is at least £14m, and it appears Everton are more likely to come up with that figure.
Whelan said: “Newcastle have not made a real offer.
“When you start talking over £10m, they have to think about it.
“You’ve got to be talking £14m or maybe a little more for James.
“That does sound a lot of money, but when you look at what’s happening at present, if you look at the Premier League, it’s going mad.
“How can they pay £86m for Gareth Bale?
“If we go and look for somebody, they’re starting at £5m-£6m straight off. The transfer market has gone barmy.”
Whelan was speaking to journalists yesterday when he took a call from Everton boss Roberto Martinez about McCarthy.
However, Whelan has told Martinez he will not be sold on the cheap, although he expects Everton to bid if the Toffees sell Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United.
Whelan said: “Roberto is chasing James. If Everton sell Fellaini, they are going to come in again for our boy.
“It depends whether Fellaini goes today. I have heard that he’s definitely going.
“If Fellaini goes, Everton are going to get their £30m or whatever.
“Roberto knows what James is valued at, so they’ve got to come back in with the right amount.
“You’ve got to be talking £14m or maybe a little more.”
McCarthy has not joined up with the Ireland squad yet as a result of the interest in him, although it remains to be seen whether or not a deal happens before Monday night’s 11pm deadline.
Whelan added: “I would never stop a footballer going up to a bigger club, or to the Premier League.
“I know what it’s like if you stop a footballer going to the club he wants to go to; you never get the same response or loyalty out of him ever again if you stand in his way.”