In an eventful transfer window which resulted in West Ham snapping up no less than nine players, two stars especially have settled into the Premier League with distinction. Both Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho have scored a combined total of five goals in their last five games for the Hammers. This impressive stat means that the appointment of former player Teddy Sheringham as striker coach is turning out to be a shrewd move by Sam Allardyce.
However, last season, David Gold and David Sullivan, as well as Big Sam, made the decision to secure the services of Andy Carroll on a permanent basis, smashing the Hammers’ transfer record by forking out £19m for the England striker. Injuries have temporarily scuppered Carroll’s chances of resurrecting his career after a miserable stint at Liverpool, with surgery on both ankles in the past year having massively restricted the former Newcastle United hit-man’s playing time.
With Sakho and Valencia both hitting form, as well as new recruit Mauro Zarate offering something different with his technical ability, it will be very hard for Carroll to walk into the starting XI when he returns from injury. There is now talk of big man being sold, with the likes of Newcastle willing snap him up.
In his loan season with the East London outfit in 2012/2013, Carroll managed to muster 26 Premier League appearances, scoring seven goals and making four assists in the process. With a conversion rate of just 8.6%, Carroll’s presence on the pitch was enough to guide the Boleyn Ground side to a mid-table finish. The season after, where a horrid ankle injury ruled Carroll out for a large chunk of the campaign, the powerful attacker played nine times, scoring two goals and making four assists.
However, despite his lack of games, Carroll can make a difference for any Premier League side in any game. Proof of this was his first game in claret and blue in the 2012/2013 season. In a 3-0 home win against Fulham, Carroll was a constant nuisance for Brede Hangeland, a centre half who was in his prime and a very difficult opponent to play against. But Carroll made it look easy against a defender who was being targeted by clubs in the Champions League at the time.
His link up play with captain Kevin Nolan has proven to be deadly. Despite Nolan not being the most popular player at West Ham with the fans, when he links up with Carroll, goals will soon come. The tall, strong and powerful striker is far from finished, and can still return to the international scene before you know it. Despite the Hammers’ eye for a goal in this current campaign, there will be spells in the season where the Hammers will go games without scoring. Having options is critical for Big Sam, and when Carroll is back in action, the Irons’ frontline will become even more potent.
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