It’s a transfer saga that looks set to run and run but Andy Carroll has given the clearest indication as to what his expectations are should he leave Liverpool.
The £35 million man is keen to prove his worth to new boss Brendan Rodgers. But the striker is aware that he might not get the chance to do so and the Mirror and Independent have reported that he will only leave for a club who can offer European football.
It’s a brave move from the England international, who many would say after last season, is not in a position to make such demands. It also seems that a return to Newcastle is the only viable option for Carroll, a move he may well be trying to engineer.
Of the Champions League clubs, neither Arsenal, Chelsea nor the Manchester clubs have any interest in the target man. Tottenham are looking for a forward but it is unlikely that Andre Villas-Boas would see him fitting into his system.
That leaves Newcastle.
The Magpies reportedly made an offer to take Carroll on a season long loan with a view to a permanent deal at the end of it. However, their offer £12 million fell some way short of the £20 million Liverpool expects to receive. However, with rumours that Demba Ba will activate his £7 million release clause, Alan Pardew may have more money to spend.
If Carroll is adamant on playing in Europe then a move back to the North East is an ideal option. There is the obvious appeal of a return home and the hope that he will recapture the form that convinced Liverpool to part with £35 million.
It also looks as if Carroll has options abroad. Pier Silvio Berlusconi, son of AC Milan owner, Silvio Berlusconi, is an admirer of the 23-year-old. Milan are looking to revamp their ageing squad and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving on, it is though that their owners at least, are impressed with Carroll’s physical attributes.
Milan of course are in the Champions League and meet Carroll’s desire to play in Europe, but whether he could adapt to the culture and the different style of play is another thing. There is also the small matter of competing with Alexandre Pato and Antonio Cassano for a starting role.
European ambitions are a dent in West Ham’s attempts to sign the forward and also Paul Lambert’s wish to bring him to Villa Park. Whether Villa can afford him remains to be seen and it is hard to imagine that Carroll would welcome the move. The task of securing European football would almost entirely depend on Darren Bent and Carroll finding the net on a regular basis.
The effective snub of West Ham is a surprising one. If there is one man who can get the best out of Carroll it is Sam Allardyce. Always defensive of his style of play, Big Sam cannot deny that he favours a big target man and you would expect that the former Newcastle number nine would flourish under him.
In demanding European football, Carroll has pinned his hopes on boyhood club Newcastle. Returning home could be a good move for him but should it not materialise he may have to seek a move elsewhere and West Ham could be the perfect set up for him.
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