Just before the January transfer window closed, it was reported that Newcastle had allegedly had a £16m offer for James McCarthy turned down.

It was claimed that Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright told Newcastle that the player wouldn’t be joining them, even though he was no longer a first team regular.

The Mail ran the story and whilst the Magpies could have done with with extra quality in the middle of the pitch to see this season/promotion out, it is difficult to believe that they were willing to pay £16m for it, or indeed any sizeable transfer fee, especially as the constant message that month was that only loan deals, if anything, would potentially happen.

Sunday morning has brought this James McCarthy supposed interest around again and once more it is The Mail who are running it.

This time they claim that if Rafa Benitez is given the transfer budget he wants from Mike Ashley, the Newcastle Manager is supposedly willing to pay £20m to bring McCarthy to St James Park. With the likes of Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, Fulham’s Tom Cairney, and Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez also claimed to be on the United boss’ shopping list.

James McCarthy signed four ago for Everton and is a decent player but spending that kind of money on a midfielder who doesn’t score or create goals would be a surprise.

In these four years on Merseyside since moving for £13m from Wigan, McCarthy has only scored six Premier League goals and got seven assists.

Predictably, one of his five goals came against Newcastle, scoring the first one in a 3-0 win in March 2015 – the game when Coloccini was sent off.

The scousers have signed Schneiderlin from Manchester United, Besic is coming back from injury, teenager Tom Davies has emerged as yet another potential star from their production line, so no surprise if Everton would sell James McCarthy if the money was right – especially as Ronald Koeman is also reported to be looking to bring in another midfielder this summer.

He has only started seven Premier League matches this season and hasn’t started any in over three months, making a few sub appearances in late February/early March.

However, as well as indifferent form this season, James McCarthy has had recurring hamstring complaints this campaign and is once again out injured – not featuring in the 18 man squad that lost 1-0 at Swansea yesterday.

Whether or not Rafa Benitez sees the Everton player as a wanted man, it is a reminder of the kind of prices that will be needed to be paid, if Newcastle are to land players this summer with any kind of proven Premier League pedigree.