The effects of the potential return of the Prodigal Son
Obviously, one of the biggest British transfer rumours making the papers this week is that Andy Carroll could be returning to Newcastle United on loan, so I’m going to try and put this into perspective and weigh up the positives and the negatives if this actually goes through, both for Liverpool and Newcastle.
Firstly, for Newcastle, it could be a good move – emphasis on the word ‘could’. As everyone knows, towards the end of the 11/12 season, Newcastle had a three man front line, Ben Arfa on the right, Ba on the left, Cissé in the middle. No doubt about it, Carroll could work into this formation very well; as we saw with Cissé, if he can get on the ball, there’s a good chance he can stick it in the net, same thing with Andy, but with the crosses going to the head rather than the feet. Also, he would be an excellent cover player. I have no doubt in my mind that he could push for first team, but with the form Cissé had last season, Carroll would start off as second choice at least. And if this is a full, season long loan, and providing Senegal get past the tough test of the Ivory Coast to qualify for the African Cup of Nations, Carroll would at least get some form of run in the team during that period, with Ba and Cissé obviously unavailable.
Another key factor is that since the sale of Leon Best and the release of Peter Lovenkrands, Newcastle are dangerously short on strikers, with only four real options – the aforementioned Ba and Cissé, Shola Ameobi and Xisco, who I expect to go back to Spain on loan and run down his contract. So if that happens, we only have one real spare striker, which would be another reason to bring Carroll back home. Uncertainty continues to surround Demba Ba and his buyout clause too; although he has stated he is going nowhere, you can never be too sure in the North East!
Liverpool could also stand to do well from this deal. Already having the likes of Suarez, new signing Fabio Borini, and Craig Bellamy up front, Carroll really doesn’t stand much of a chance to get in the squad next season, and with the talks of a revolution at the hands of new manager Brendan Rodgers, more players could still come in, pushing Carroll further down the ranks. So why not let him go out on loan and get some playing time under his belt? Also, reportedly trying to thrash out a deal has seen a potential future buy out fee put forward. Newcastle want to pay £13m, whereas Liverpool want closer to £20m. No way they will ever get £20m out of Mike Ashley, but possibly £15m would see the boy come home on a permanent basis. This would obviously a big loss for Liverpool, but at least they could recoup some of the money they paid, and hey, Barcelona got Jordi Alba for less than £15m, so you never know what they could do with that money!
Obviously, the big negative to this move for Liverpool would be the loss of the money they paid for him, but let’s face it, no-one in their right mind would pay £35m for Andy Carroll now. Newcastle, on the other hand, could do better. While there is no doubt that Carroll is a talented young player, I feel he lacks heart for the game, and more importantly, for the club. If he went back, I’d wager that the Geordie faithful would not be best pleased. He left for money, so why work to take him back into the fold again? He’s never going to get the sort of money at Newcastle that Liverpool were paying him, so what has changed? Newcastle gave him a new contract, and as soon as he heard other clubs were in for him, wanted even more money! For a player that supposedly loved the club and was living his boyhood dream, he sure had a funny way of showing it!
I believe he is going to get a lot of stick if he goes back, and the success of such a move will hang on whether he can handle that sort of pressure. Toon fans are renowned for being some of the most passionate fans in the world, so seeing a player who turned his back on the club during a potentially tough time for money… it would take a lot of goals to win them back over. Also, I think Pardew could actually bring in someone a bit more talented than Carroll. I know it’s a loan, so it will only cost them a little bit plus some of his wages, but they have one of the best scouting systems in the world, so why not try to find someone a little better? Luuk De Jong was a great target to go for, but Twente were asking for too much.
Can’t complain about it ever being boring at Newcastle in the transfer window, can you?