James McArthur plays down Arsenal link

James McArthur vies for the ball with Germany's Thomas Muller at Hampden in September. Picture: Michael Gillen
James McArthur vies for the ball with Germany's Thomas Muller at Hampden in September. Picture: Michael Gillen
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Scotland midfielder James McArthur says he is ignoring rumours about a potential move to Arsenal in the January transfer window.

The Crystal Palace player insisted yesterday that he’s shrugging off speculation about a switch across London even though his own manager, Alan Pardew, admitted it is no surprise that bigger clubs 
covet the 28-year-old Scot.

The former Hamilton Accies midfielder, who has 22 caps for Scotland, became Palace’s then-record signing when he moved to Selhurst Park for 
£7 million from Wigan Athletic in August 2014.

If McArthur did join Arsene Wenger’s side, he’d be the first Scot to be bought by Arsenal since Charlie Nicholas came from Celtic in 1983.

However, McArthur said yesterday that he wants to get into Europe next term with the modest South London club, even if Pardew believes McArthur could do a job for one of the Barclays Premier League’s top sides.

“It’s nice of the manager to say that but I’m not going to listen to the rumours,” McArthur said when asked of the Arsenal link. “I am just going to go about my job at Crystal Palace, because I am really enjoying my football.”

It was reported two weeks ago that the Glaswegian could be a target for Wenger, who has lost midfielders Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla to injury.

Pardew admitted that he wasn’t surprised either. “James McArthur has been outstanding since I’ve come to Palace,” said Pardew.

“I always admired him when he was at Wigan Athletic, and it’s not a surprise to me he’s been linked to a top club. He plays international football for Scotland and he plays a very high level of football for us, so it’s not a testament to Palace, it’s more a testament to James. He’s a great team player.”

Hamilton would be delighted if their former player did move because that would see another windfall for the New Douglas Park club, who negotiated a sell-on clause which netted them a slice of that £7m move to Palace.

McArthur moved to Wigan in 2010 and won a FA Cup winner’s medal in 2013, alongside another former Hamilton man, James McCarthy.

He has transformed himself into a defensive midfielder in England but his goal against Germany in Scotland’s 3-2 defeat at Hampden in September helped send his stock soaring among Barclays Premier League managers.