LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 06: Andy Carroll of Liverpool gestures after coming on as a substitute to make his debut during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on March 6, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
While it went away for a while, talk of West Ham's interest in Andy Carroll came back in full force late yesterday, with multiple sources confirming that the club were tabling a club-record bid for the striker. After so much talk about Newcastle, West Ham's offer seemed to come out of the blue, but it's signaled the type of intent that Liverpool are apparently looking for.
Reports by Ben Smith at the BBC have West Ham "prepared to build their team around Carroll":
West Ham have stepped up their interest in Liverpool striker Andy Carroll by making a £17m bid that would break the club's transfer record. The fresh offer would see England forward Carroll initially move on loan with a commitment to buy the 23-year-old next summer.
Brendan Rodgers spoke of the club's reluctance to let the player move on loan last week, but with two parts to the deal--a loan in the coming season, a permanent move next season--that might have slightly more appeal to Liverpool. There's no mention of who would be covering Carroll's wages in the coming season, and the £17m is slightly below the club's valuation, but it's the first legitimate-seeming offer that Liverpool have received. I'd be shocked if they accepted the bid, particularly with the player reportedly preferring a move back to the Northeast if he is indeed going to be sold.
There's also the small matter of the fact that, regardless of whether or not it's West Ham or Newcastle or whoever, Liverpool are actively shopping Andy Carroll at a time when their forward line is worryingly thin. Fabio Borini's arrived, yes, but if a bid proves successful, the Italian is the only striker in the squad for the first few weeks of the season. Rodgers made a half-hearted effort to convince folks that there's a chance Carroll could fit into his style of playing, but I don't know that anyone was buying that his future's on Merseyside.
Selling Andy Carroll straight-up is bothersome enough, but to do so without any other attacking players on the way in just seems negligent. Hopefully as the month of August kicks in--which is five days away and with a trip to Belarus to face Gomel in six--we'll see more activity, and that it gives Liverpool both depth and quality up front.
Which is something that, right now, Andy Carroll does provide.