Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez has confirmed the club have opened contract talks with highly-rated midfielder James McCarthy.
The former Hamilton man impressed for the Latics last term, leading to speculation over the 20-year-old's future with a number of rival clubs interested.
McCarthy is now into the third year of the five-year deal penned after leaving the Accies, but Martinez wants to reward him with new and improved terms.
The Spaniard insists the Glasgow-born Republic of Ireland international is part of the club's long-term future and one of a core group of players he wants to retain.
"James is a big diamond of ours," explained Martinez. "I felt he had a tremendous season last campaign and he deserves a reward.
"We've got another five or six players that we're going to look to try to reward and give them new contracts.
"We're still in talks, nothing has been finalised, but it's not a real secret that we want to reward the players who have been performing well and developing with us, and James McCarthy is in that group."
Meanwhile, Martinez has dismissed reports of a rift with striker Hugo Rodallega, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
The Colombian ace has been linked with a move away from the DW Stadium, but Wigan's manager insists there is no 'problem' with the talented marksman.
"We've never had a problem with Hugo," he added. "I know there's been a few things in the press, I don't know where they've come from. We would love to have Hugo here for the long term but at the moment it's not a priority.
"His agent's in Colombia, we've got a very good relationship, and we'll see what develops from there. But my focus on Hugo is for him to be as fit as he can be because when he's on top form he's a unique player and an important player."
Wigan continued to be linked with players before the transfer window closes, although he is refusing to name who is on his shopping list despite reports of a bid for West Brom's Peter Odemwingie.
"It would be wrong of me to speak about other players that are employed by other clubs. I can guarantee my focus is on the players we've got," he concluded.