Everton insist they will NOT sell James McCarthy

McCarthy the subject of intense transfer speculation
McCarthy the subject of intense transfer speculation

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has issued a defiant 'hands off' warning to Premier League rivals eyeing up a big-money move for his Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy.

Tottenham have been linked with a move for McCarthy throughout 2015 and Manchester City are now believed to be tracking the Scottish-born midfielder, but Martinez is determined to hang on to all his top players.

“There are two reasons why James McCarthy is not for sale,” said the Everton boss.

“The first is that Everton are a club that has balanced its books, it is not a club that needs to sell anybody.

“The second is that James McCarthy has been a strong performer for me for a number of seasons. I know exactly how he performs, he is a central part of my plans so the answer would be no.

“My responsibility is to try to keep bringing competition into the squad. I think what we have got now is a very strong competition for places and we don’t want to lose that.

“James McCarthy has been a top performer in the last few seasons. At the age of 24, to be over 300 games shows the know-how he brings, together with young legs and good energy. He is a vital part of our squad.”

Reports continue to suggest that McCarthy is frustrated by the club's reluctance to hand him a new contract, while Everton's signing of Tom Cleverley from Manchester United this summer appears to have put the Irishman's place in the Toffees team under threat.