FILE PHOTO - JULY 15, 2012: Newcastle United FC have offered to take their former striker Andy Carroll back on loan from current club Liverpool FC, with a longer term view to purchase the player. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
After a brief flurry of activity on Sunday night saw a week's worth of rumours solidify around a Newcastle bid for the services of Andy Carroll, the striker today remains a Liverpool player after his current club rejected a loan-to-buy proposal that would have seen him return to his boyhood club a year and a half after leaving for a record fee. But with a week to go before he re-joins Liverpool for their North American pre-season tour, it remains far from certain that the striker will be around for very much longer.
Carroll signed a 5 1/2 year contract with Liverpool in January of last year, and even accepting that Liverpool overpaid for the striker at the time, four years remaining on the contract of a young, prototypical English striker on the edges of the first eleven for his national team makes him a high value commodity. And by most accounts, at present Liverpool do value him highly, rating him in the £22-24M range based on his potential and the lengthy remaining contract. By next summer, though, when there will be only three years remaining on that contract, his transfer value will at least in theory have decreased—though a season where he started every week and found himself amongst the top five scorers in the league would obviously change the equation.
The rationale behind a loan-to-buy deal like the one Newcastle proposed, then, where they would pay his £75k a week wages next year—adding up to nearly £4M—and then a guaranteed £17M next summer represents an attempt to sidestep Liverpool's current valuation of the player in order to pay a fee they believe is more fairly representative of his true value. On the surface it may seem wholly beneficial only to Newcastle, but if Carroll isn't a part of Brendan Rodgers' plans moving forward and no other club is willing to offer a fee close to what Liverpool believe is his current value, then it could in fact represent the best option for both clubs as it would free up those £4M of wages this season for Liverpool to invest in another player.
Still, given that such a move would leave Rodgers with only two first team strikers in Luis Suarez and the newly arrived Fabio Borini, it's difficult to imagine him signing off on such a deal unless Fenway Sports Group was willing to allow him to spend the additional £17M in transfer fees and £75k a week in wages right away. With Liverpool likely to play around sixty matches in all competitions over the coming season and Dirk Kuyt already departed, letting Carroll go would potentially be suicidal for the manager if the only thing he received this summer was an extra £75k per week of available wages.
In any case, with Liverpool outright rejecting it, it appears clear the specific deal that Newcastle offered wasn't good enough. Or at least it wasn't good enough for now, as the BBC's Ben Smith—the first man to report Sunday's deal had been rejected after earlier in the week leading the way on the Borini story—maintains the club is still interested in selling the striker. And while Liverpool may hope to find a side that values Carroll at the price they're currently seeking, if a loan with an agreement to buy him outright at the end of the 2012-13 season is the best they can get between now and July 23 when Carroll is scheduled to join up with the pre-season tour after his post-Euro break, it just might be a deal they decide to take.
Though no mater the specifics of any potential Carroll transfer, one thing that is certain is that it would need to be followed by significant—and immediate—investment for the club to have any hopes of returning to the top four and avoiding disaster.