Should liverpool's Andy Carroll return to Newcastle?
If I sold you my house for, say £350,000, and you moved in only to find it wasn't what you expected – leaky roof, damp on the walls, noisy neighbours – how would you feel if I offered to buy it back after 18 months for just £200,000? How about if I then insisted I move in for 12 months before stumping up the cash – fixed the structural problems, setup a neighbourhood watch – but only paid half the mortgage while I did this? I'm guessing not many people in the real world would be very receptive to an arrangement like this, but football doesn't exist within these mortal parameters.
Mike Ashley's done some deals in his time, but this one would eclipse any lucrative Donnay contracts he’s put pen to paper on. Nevertheless Andy Carroll's potential return has provoked a mixed response on Tyneside. Brendan Rogers has seemingly ruled out the chance of a loan deal but has been extremely naive in the first place to publicly reveal that Carroll is not in his plans. If Carroll leaves for a cut price and starts banging them in elsewhere, the new Liverpool boss will have some serious questions to answer. His handling of the situation has placed the advantage firmly in the court of potential suitors and by the time Carroll rejoins his Liverpool teammates for pre-season training, his morale isn't exactly going to be sky-high.
That's not to say there aren't risks involved for potential buyers. Shelling out £20 million is not in keeping with the shrewd way we conducted our business last summer. This is one player we haven't had to send the father of a camp comedian to cast his prudent eye over, Carroll is someone we know all about. Having said that the pros and cons are still endless, "He was poor at Liverpool, we'd have to change our whole style of play to accommodate him," moan the skeptics. "He looked sharp towards the end of last season, took his chance in the Euro's and is a local lad," plead the non-skeptics.
I have to admit I felt a pang of pride in my chest as Carroll powered in an unstoppable header against Sweden in June. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen someone from the North East lead the line for England, but we can’t let our hearts rule our heads, it would be wrong to sign him just because he’s a Geordie.
His handling of the situation has placed the advantage firmly in the court of potential suitors and by the time Carroll rejoins his Liverpool teammates for pre-season training, his morale isn't exactly going to be sky-high.
As things stand, with Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa still currently under contact at St James' Park, it’s hard to see a place for Carroll in the starting line up, but with the Thursday-Sunday games set to come thick and fast, thanks to our Europa League qualification, there's no doubt he'd get his fair share of minutes if he did return. If Uncle Pards has given the transfer his blessing and asked Ashley to fire up the helicopter, maybe he has something up his sleeve that keeps everyone happy?
People forget Carroll's only 23 and the fact AC Milan have been sniffing around is a big endorsement. They have a Zlatan Ibrahimovic sized-hole to fill in their frontline and the comparisons between the big Swede and big Andy don't end with just a ponytail. Carroll is not only an aerial threat, he is a danger with the ball at his feet as well, but as ever with him, a question mark still hangs over his head with regards his 'off the field' activities. Would a return home add fuel to the fire? We can't have him falling off bar stools in casinos again, that’s for sure.
Given the chance I think he’d love a return home, despite the ear-ache we gave him when he returned with Liverpool in April – a game that marked a huge turning point in our season. Pardew has been clever to never close the door for him despite Carroll pushing for a deadline day move in 2011 as soon as he caught wind of an offer from Merseyside. With Liverpool looking to recoup closer to £20 million and the prospect of a loan deal now a non-starter, I’m not so sure we’ll see Carroll in black and white stripes this season but stranger things have happened.
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