Chelsea and Arsenal lead race for £15m James McCarthy
Chelsea and Arsenal are leading the summer race to sign £15m-rated Republic of Ireland international James McCarthy.
The London clubs are keen on bringing the Glasgow-born midfielder to the English capital, and Wigan are braced for further interest in their star player.
They are currently engaged in another relegation battle and tonight's meeting with Swansea will have a big say in their fortunes. If they drop to the second tier, McCarthy is certain to leave, but if they stay up then he will have to decide whether to move this time around or stay for one more season at the DW Stadium.
McCarthy is happy at Wigan and has thrived under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez, who is resigned to the fact that he will one day lose the 22-year-old to a top-four club, although he naturally would like to delay that departure.
McCarthy has remained tight-lipped about speculation, and refused to comment on reports a fortnight ago which linked him with Manchester United.
Arsenal and Chelsea have been tracking the player for some time, however, believing that he has the potential to develop into a top-class performer.
Wigan have grown frustrated at the number of times which McCarthy has been asked about his future on international duty and requested that he didn't speak to media around the recent double-header with Sweden and Austria.
A switch would move the midfielder into the big league financially, and he could command wages in the region of £40,000 a week. His former Wigan colleague Victor Moses moved into that wage bracket when he joined Chelsea last summer.
One Irish international who is certainly in the money is captain Robbie Keane, who was last night revealed to be the second-highest earner in Major League Soccer behind Thierry Henry.
The former Tottenham and Liverpool striker will earn $4.33m this year (€3.3m), which puts him in second place in the MLS earnings behind Henry, who will be paid $4.35m.
Keane's Republic of Ireland team-mate Darren O'Dea's salary is revealed to be $456,250 (€348,000) at FC Toronto.
Belfast Telegraph Digital