James McCarthy
Everton\'s James McCarthy is a £16m January target for Arsenal [Getty]

Arsenal are reportedly preparing a £16m bid to lure Everton midfielder James McCarthy to the Emirates Stadium.

According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners' scouts have watched the Ireland midfielder and have pin pointed him to be ready-made to marshal Arsenal's midfield and protect the back four.

Arsene Wenger is in the market for a defensive midfielder to play in front of the back four, and is looking for a long-term replacement for Mikel Arteta, who is getting on in age as well as struggling with injuries this season.

The manger's backup option Mathieu Flamini has failed to impress when called upon during the Arsenal skipper's absence.

McCarthy has formed a strong partnership at the heart of the Everton midfield with former Manchester City player Gareth Barry. This has impressed the French manager, who sees him as an ideal partner for Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere at the heart of the Arsenal midfield and is willing to start the bidding for the midfielder at £16m.

The Ireland international, only joined the Toffees last summer from Wigan Athletic for a reported £13m, and it is expected that the Merseyside club will reject the north London club's bid for their player, but the report claims that Wenger is willing to up that bid in order to land the Irishman.

The 24-year-old midfielder is currently injured with a grade-one hamstring tear he suffered during their win over Wolfsburg in the Europa League, but that is not set to deter the Gunners in their pursuit of the former Wigan player.

Arsenal have been linked to a number of defensive midfield players and apart from the Everton man, they have also been linked with moves for Sevilla's Grzegorz Krychowiak and Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin among others.