The Daily Mail says McCarthy's latest row with Blackburn has brought him back into view, although when Chelsea weighed up an approach for him in the summer it was inspired by Jose Mourinho rather than Avram Grant.
Still, the fact McCarthy has managed to negotiate his way out of South Africa's squad for the African Nations Cup paves the way for a move.
It has been a less happy few months for the 30-year-old at Ewood Park, culminating in him storming off before the end of the 3-1 win over Newcastle after he was substituted in the 61st minute. Blackburn manager Mark Hughes was understood to be furious that McCarthy strode down the tunnel and left the stadium by the time the rest of the squad reached the dressing room.
He has already held him back for extra training and dropped him from the side earlier this season, yet the former Champions League winner has still managed to score eight times.
McCarthy still has three years on his contract and for all the uneasiness surrounding him, Hughes would be reluctant to lose such a huge talent as the club push for European football.