Newcastle United have been linked as fovourites to sign James McCarthy from Everton this month – and fans would love to see his move to Saint James Park come through.

The odds were slammed yesterday on the Republic of Ireland international transferring to Rafael Benitez’s team before the deadline.

Following a wave of bets, bookmakers Sky Bet shortened the odds on McCarthy, 26, moving to Newcastle this month to 8/11 by Monday night. Benitez’s side are place well ahead of second favourites. Celtic, who are 12/1 to land McCarthy, clear of Crystal Palace (14/1) and Sunderland (18/1).

Newcastle fans are keen for Benitez to revamp the club’s midfield even though the team is doing well at the top of the Championship. Supporters have been particularly critical of ex-Sunderland man Jack Colback this season, while Cheick Tiote is on the verge of moving to Sporting Gijon in Spain.

A broad section of the Newcastle faithful believe McCarthy would be an upgrade on the many of the current central midfielders available to Benitez and are excited at the possibility of the club signing him this month.

United fan, Darren Crowe on the club’s twitter page said he hopes the “James McCarthy rumours are true, He would be a great partner to Jonjo Shelvey.” Another fan tweeted: “James McCarthy would be a solid signing for our midfield. Let hope!”

The Glasgow-born midfielder joined Everton from Wigan in the summer of 2013 for a fee of $13 million and has made 122 appearances fro the Merseysiders, scoring five goals. But he has beon on the fringes under Ronald Koeman since Idrissa Gueye was signed from Aston Villa last summer to partner Gareth Barry in the midfield.

McCarthy, who has made just nine appearances in all competition this season has slipped further down following the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United last week for a fee around 24 million.