CELTIC are putting together an ambitious loan deal for Everton midfielder James McCarthy, who they want to sign in the January transfer window.

Herald Sport understands that Brendan Rodgers, manager of the Scottish champions, wants to bring the 26-year-old to Glasgow in a deal which would initially base the Republic of Ireland internationalist at Celtic Park for the remainder of this season.

We can reveal that a permanent move could be secured next summer if Celtic, Everton and McCarthy himself can agree terms, however, the situation is also being monitored by Newcastle United, Sunderland and Stoke City who are also interested in the former Hamilton Academical player.

Everton’s owners remain reluctant to sell the Glaswegian; however, McCarthy does not figure in the plans of manager Ronald Koeman, having played just two league games this season, and is desperate to get back playing regularly.

The Merseyside club would have to pay the majority of the former Wigan star’s wages, believed to be close to £70,000 a week, which means if Celtic want to push through the move they would have to pay a loan fee, but with the £30m-plus the club will make out of their Champions League campaign they are in a strong financial position.

And there could be an added cash bonus as Liverpool are reportedly ready to make a £30m bid for former defender Virgil van Dijk as the Parkhead club are due 15 per cent of the fee Southampton would receive if such a deal was to take place.

Crystal Palace midfielder Jordan Mutch remains a target and Darlington Nagbe of MLS outfit Portland Timbers has visited the club and is expected to sign when the window opens for a fee of close to £2m.

However, a successful chase of McCarthy would be seen by supporters as another big marker set down by the club in terms of the level of player they can attract.

McCarthy established himself as a much-admired Premier League performer when he joined Wigan in 2009, and won the FA Cup before clinching his move to Everton, who beat a number of clubs to sign him for £12m.

Up until this season, after Koeman took over from Robert Martinez, McCarthy has been a first-team regular, but it is clear he doesn’t fit into the Dutchman’s system at present.