David Sullivan is claiming that West Ham and Liverpool have already reached an agreement for the transfer of Andy Carroll once the forward’s loan deal has expired – and the East London club’s co-owner confirmed that to The Mail this afternoon.
“I am often asked about Andy Carroll’s deal. It is a season-long loan. Liverpool had an option to take him back in January, but he has been injured.
West Ham have an agreement with Liverpool to sign him at the end of the season, but we have no agreement with the player.
It was his desire to come to West Ham to prove himself to Liverpool and that hasn’t changed.
He has had injuries since he came, but he is back to fitness now and we have 15 games left… we need some goals and some points, so let’s see.”
(via Sky Sports)
Injuries are obviously a key concern with Carroll, and even at this early stage of his career he has already suffered from a range of different muscular issues. In terms of signing him on a permanent basis, that’s probably more of a caveat than his on-pitch productivity. At no point during his time at West Ham has Carroll looked completely fit, and so that in part mitigates his very ordinary contribution.
Additionally though, whether making the deal permanent is worthwhile very much depends on the fee in question. Combine that injury record with a fee of, say, anything above £10m and it starts to feel like a bit of a stretch.
I said when West Ham’s interest in Carroll first became known, that this was the perfect situation for him and that he’s an ideal fit for Sam Allardyce’s preferred system – and while that’s still true, if the player isn’t on the pitch then he’s just a vast misallocation of resources. At £5m-£10m you can take that risk, but anything above that and you need some reassurance about what you’re paying for.
If he doesn’t string together a decent sequence of games between now and the end of the season, don’t expect David Sullivan and David Gold to commit to Carroll long-term.