It will go down in history as one of the most spectacular transfer deadline day scoops of all time.
Nobody had expected Andy Carroll to leave Newcastle, his hometown club with whom he had enjoyed an outstanding first half of the season during their return to the Premier League.
However, an unbelievable £35million and a flurry of helicopter rides later and Carroll was relocating to Merseyside.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the huge target man didn’t quite fit into Liverpool’s slick passing style of play and he had to take his place on the bench behind Luis Suarez. Brendan Rodgers made it clear at the start of this campaign that Carroll didn’t feature in his plans, so he was loaned to West Ham.
Despite a tough campaign disrupted by injuries, Carroll has looked almost back to his Newcastle best in the last few games having bagged his fourth goal in his last six games. His signature could be a financial gamble due to his high wages and rumoured £17million asking fee, so which teams should be looking at the big man this summer?
1. West Ham
Big Sam has made no secret of his desire to retain Carroll’s services next year. The Geordie is now settled in London with the Hammers and is enjoying life playing alongside his old Newcastle buddy Kevin Nolan.
Allardyce’s tendency to play a long ball game is well-known, and on paper Carroll is certainly the ideal man to spearhead their attack. However, his injury record this term may be enough to dissuade the Hammers board from splashing out on his multi-million pound signature.
2. Stoke City
Stoke City need a striker. They’ve only scored 31 goals in their 35 league games so far this campaign, and their inability to put the ball in the net led to a very worrying slide towards the bottom three that they only corrected with two wins in the last two games. Peter Crouch has looked out of sorts this term, while Cameron Jerome has never shown the type of form that persuaded Tony Pulis to pay Birmingham for his services. If they can get Crouch off their wage bill they will free up space for Carroll, who could be just the man to reinvigorate the Potters.
3. Tottenham Hotspur
Although not as glamorous as their usual signings, Andy Carroll could be a real asset for Spurs. While their attacking pace has been observed, particularly with Bale and Lennon tearing up both wings, they’ve looked bereft of a “plan B” all season. Emmanuel Adebayor has been a shadow of the player that smashed 17 goals for Spurs last season and rumours are rife that Spurs will be looking to flog the flop.
If they do, Carroll could offer a more direct aerial threat to Jermain Defoe. Furthermore, Spurs have shown a desire to bring in the best young players in the UK in recent years with Gareth Bale, Kyle Walker, Steve Caulker and Jake Livermore all coming through. Could Carroll be next?
Speak to Newcastle fans and they will tell you exactly what they’ve missed this year – passion. Since their astonishing run last season they’ve looked tame this term and the loss of Demba Ba has hit them harder than most expected.
Papiss Cisse has endeavoured to replace him but his insistence on standing offside has infuriated Toon fans. A move to bring back their prodigal son would go down a treat up North, while it would also provide them with a bit more desire in front of goal.
Let’s not count out the possibility of Carroll staying and making his mark at Liverpool. Although it didn’t work out at the first attempt, the opportunity for Carroll to make an impact has never been better.
Luis Suarez will miss the first six Premier League games next season, or he could even be sold if new Bayern boss Pep Guardiola has anything to do with it, and unless Rodgers decides to buy in the summer that will leave just Daniel Sturridge and the inexperienced Fabio Borini as Liverpool’s striking options.
With the right attitude in training and a bit of luck there’s no reason why Carroll couldn’t force his way past the pair of them to become Liverpool’s shock new first choice.
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