When Brendan Rodgers was announced as the new manager at Liverpool, the decision was greeted warmly by fans and pundits alike. Liverpool’s American owners wanted a young, vibrant manager and that is exactly what they got. Rodgers will look to implement a style of football that will be welcomed gratefully by Liverpool’s supporters. The football Swansea played en route to winning just about every neutral heart in the Premier League was quite simply, wonderful.
Not only was it aesthetically pleasing, it was also remarkably brave. They never betrayed their philosophy, even when it got them into trouble. It cost them occasionally, most notably against United at home. But, for the most part it was effective.
So it’s good news for the fans, the purists and the neutrals. But one man who might not benefit from these developments is Andy Carroll. Signed by Liverpool in January 2011 for a rather exorbitant £35m, he has struggled during his Anfield career thus far. Despite showing signs of a return to form in the closing stages of last season, a run of form which persuaded Roy Hodgson to take him to Euro 2012, he might now find himself on the periphery of Rodgers’ new regime.
When asked about Carroll, Rodgers was far from emphatic in declaring his support for the striker. He gave no assurances whatsoever that Carroll would be a part of his plans. What the reasons are for his lack of faith in Carroll remain unclear, however, Rodgers did state that he was pleased with Carroll’s attitude. Therefore, it is hard to look past the theory that Rodgers simply does not quite believe in Carroll’s ability to fit into his system.
It is widely believed Fabio Borini will be joining Liverpool in the near future which adds further doubt over Carroll’s future. So, what will be of him? Well, a permanent move is highly unlikely. Liverpool’s American owners would not be keen on the idea unless most or all of their initial outlay could be recouped, which is even more unlikely. So a loan move is really the only option. AC Milan have been mooted as a possibly destination, but more recently West Ham have emerged as potential suitors. David Gould, the West Ham co-owner has said he would be interested, despite no talks having taken place.
On the face of it, West Ham looks a perfect fit for Carroll. He would fit perfectly into Allardyce’s should we say, robust, style of football and would certainly be the focal point of West Ham’s bid to stay in the Premier League. He would score plenty of goals, no doubt about that. His presence would almost certainly ensure West Ham’s survival. So what’s the downside?
Well, the downsides lay at the door of Anfield. Sure Carroll might return to Melwood full of confidence, having scored 15+ goals and secured West Ham’s survival. But more importantly, will a season knocking down long balls and heading in crosses really convince Rodgers of his ability to fit into his preferred system. Well, I doubt it.
Another worry for Liverpool is the potential loss they could incur on the striker. If West Ham did take him for the season, they would most likely pay a fee, but this would not be much more than a few million quid. So, if Rodgers is still unconvinced after that season, what do they do?
Well, there seem to be only two options. Letting his contract run down whilst on loan at various other clubs isn’t an option for Liverpool. So, they can either sell him for a considerable loss, or Rodgers can try and fit him into his squad, despite his misgivings over Carroll.
Andy Carroll’s future at Anfield is very much up in the air, that’s about the only thing he can be certain of.