It was a surprise when news of Everton having rejected a reported £15 million bid from Newcastle for James McCarthy broke over the weekend.
McCarthy has only made eight appearances for Everton this season in the Premier League. Though, injuries have had much to do with his limited game time.
The addition of Morgan Schneiderlin to Ronald Koeman's squad would appear to have squeezed McCarthy's chances of playing even further.
When asked about transfer speculation regarding McCarthy in December, Koeman was not dismissive. It did not appear to be the demeanour of a man who wanted to retain the services of the player.
It all added up to a presumption that McCarthy would no longer be an Everton player come 11pm on January 31st.
Here we are the day following the closing of the January window and McCarthy is still at Everton.
Quoted by The Mirror, Koeman explained that McCarthy, despite evidence to the contrary, does have a long-term future at the club. Koeman's additional comment regarding Darron Gibson - who left Everton for Sunderland - says plenty about his opinion regarding the player.
I see him having a long-term future here because I think he is a really good player and those players we need for the future of Everton.
We need competition in the midfield and that is what I mentioned to the board of the club. There is no possibility for one of the midfielders to go – yes for Darron Gibson, because there was too much competition for him, but not for James.
Koeman added that McCarthy is now at a better level than when he first arrived at the club. That's certainly good news considering next month's crucial World Cup qualifier against Wales.
My attitude hasn’t changed towards him. My attitude is the same. If what happened with all the injuries and all the call-ups for Ireland I will do the same.
Of course he’s really on a good fitness level and that makes James a better player than I saw in the beginning. At the beginning he was not fit, he had his problems with his hamstring. Now I am really pleased with his quality and how he is involved in the team.