In the wake of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ apparent refusal to confirm that striker Andy Carroll has a future at Anfield, the media yesterday whipped themselves up into a frenzy with speculation linking him to clubs as diverse as AC Milan and West Ham United. But one question that really needs to be posed at this stage concerns the possibility of Carroll returning to the club at which he made his name before convincing Liverpool to part with £35m for his services last January.
It may have seemed unthinkable given his reception during Newcastle’s impressive 2-0 victory over his current side at St James Park, but there are now rumbles that Newcastle United might consider a move for Carroll to be preferrable over their long-term pursuit of Twente’s Dutch striker Luuk de Jong. With the Eredivisie side seemingly pricing their star asset out of a move, with a £16m fee suggested, the opportunity to bring Andy Carroll home after a largely unsuccessful time at Anfield might look the better option now to Messrs Ashley, Llambias and Pardew.
Liverpool would no doubt be looking to claw back some of that massive fee they paid to bring Carroll in, but they will also have to accept a massive loss on the England striker, who has scored just six goals in 42 performances for the Reds, especially if Newcastle do indeed emerge as potential buyers. With Mike Ashley’s famously frugal business model based on a foundation of sensible spending, and Carroll’s current worth closer to £10m than £35m (or less considering Senegalese sensation Papiss Cisse cost just £8m), there would have to be a lot of movement on the price.
A loan deal to Newcastle is probably unlikely thanks to the likelihood that Liverpool would request a fairly significant fee for the opportunity to temporarily own their player – and the £4m or so that has been reportedly quoted, is just too high for Newcastle to consider with the pointless and damaging exercise of loaning Ignacio Gonzalez from Valencia no doubt still fresh in the owner’s mind. Besides which, Liverpool won’t loan a player to a club they have to consider as direct rivals for European qualification.
Similarly, Carroll would have to agree to a hefty pay-cut to rejoin his former club, with his current deal said to be worth around £80k a week (which was reportedly the catalyst for his move to Liverpool in the first place), and Newcastle no longer willing to pay that sort of money in the majority of cases. Big contracts are now used to reward service at St James Park, as in the case of captain Fabricio Coloccini, and Carroll couldn’t expect to pick up much higher than £40k if he was to return.
That wage-cut might go some way to mending the wounds caused by Carroll’s defection to Liverpool, which a good portion of the St James Park crowd still put down to the player’s own conviction to getting paid more, but it would probably be a far stretch to imagine that he would accept a half price contract.
That would likely be the biggest impediment if any bid was to be launched (and Newcastle were indeed rumoured to have inserted a first refusal clause in the striker’s contract), but the move would be a good one for Carroll himself. The striker needs to rebuild his reputation, and the opportunity to do so in front of the fans who adored him during his temporary stint in the famous number nine of Newcastle would give him the confidence boost he clearly needs.
But, would Carroll really be welcome?
Newcastle fans have a tendency to turn their backs on former players – a natural balance to the adulation current players and legends can expect from all fans in black and white – and Andy Carroll didn’t exactly do himself service when he took a dive in front of them last season to try and win a Liverpool penalty. And from a purely tactical point of view, the way Alan Pardew has his side playing wouldn’t necessarily fit the player’s own style – gone are the days when Joey Barton sought out Carroll with a long cross-field pass for Kevin Nolan to get onto the end of.
Instead the team now attack from deeper, playing more fluid football with Yohan Cabaye pulling the strings in midfield backed by the bulldog like defensive strength of Chieck Tiote, and the attacking triple-threat of Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba. And even if Ba leaves in this window for pastures new, with chief scout Graham Carr currently on the hunt for a striker to back up those options now that the De Jong deal looks dead, other options will come a lot less expensive than bringing Carroll back.
Were Carroll to become available, he would likely attract a number of suitors, with Italian side AC Milan and Sam Allardyce’s West Ham having already supposedly made an enquiry about the England international’s availability on loan, and Aston Villa said to be similarly interested. But he may yet be given a life-line at Liverpool, as some suggest Rodgers’ refusal to confirm his importance to the squad was no more than a tactical decision, designed to spur Carroll into impressing the new manager during the pre-season period.
Time will tell on this one, but I personally wouldn’t expect to see the big man back in black and white just yet.
- 30 Sexiest WAGs Of 2012
- 50 Sexiest Women You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
- 10 Most Paused Movie Moments
- Football’s Worst Ever Cheating Divers
- 10 Great Footballers Who Made Terrible Managers
- 100 Greatest Premier League Players Of All Time
- 50 Great Footballers Who Ruled 2012
- 15 Worst Ever Premier League Signings