The deal to bring Andy Carroll to Upton Park was by far the stand out piece of business by the Hammers this summer. A loan deal was made permanent in a £15million move from Liverpool and it was hoped such a deal would give the striker a rebirth in the Premier League. However reports of a fresh foot injury in the last few days have highlighted the gamble West Ham made on Carroll; were Liverpool right to cut their losses?
An announcement about the latest injury to dog the Englishman was made by the club:
“Although it is in the same part of his foot as his previous injury, it is a new injury.
“West Ham United can confirm Andy Carroll suffered an injury to his right foot during his return to full training.
“There will be no prognosis until he has seen a specialist.”
This could still turn into something quite minor, but the inference is that the injury may actually be quite severe. Carroll has been a player notorious for his battles with injury and form, is the risks associated with the deal finally becoming a reality?
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Naturally every deal bears a risk, a player could break a leg on the first day of training, accidents happen. However, when West Ham purchased Andy Carroll they were well aware from first hand experience of the precarity of the striker’s fitness. This wasn’t a punt where the costs were minimal, even if £15m seems like small change in the modern era, it still represents a serious outlay for a club like West Ham.
Looking at the players they were linked with over the course of the summer, they could easily have captured a handful for the sum they shelled out on Carroll. I agree on his day the Englishman has the potential to be one of the best frontmen in the country, but were these risks too high to bear? Surely West Ham were better off with the pragmatic approach?
Of course it is easy for me to say all this with aid of hindsight, but the risks were plain for all to see. Is this reckless egotistical ownership at work?
From a Liverpool point of view they must be laughing. They may well have lost £20m on a player, but in reality recouping anything from the deal was going to be an achievement. Brendan Rodgers has been keen to sweep clear the remains of previous failed regimes and Carroll and Downing are no better examples of this.
Rather than keep an unhappy and unfit player on their books, they bore the losses and moved on. A fresh start for the Northern Irishman effectively at Liverpool, and personally something he couldn’t have put a price on.
So whilst Liverpool seem to have learnt there lesson as they enter into an era of shrewd spending, are West Ham making the mistakes that Liverpool made in the past?
It is too early to pass judgement on the impacts of Carroll and Downing at the club, but clearly the former represents unnecessary risk for the club. Kuzmanovic, Borriello and Stankovic were all names linked to West Ham over the summer at a fraction of the price. Proven European experience at a fraction of the cost versus English inexperience and fragility. What was the smarter move?
Bringing in a host of names as opposed to one marquee deal balances the risks for a club like West Ham. I am well aware that the club have brought in Downing and Rat amongst others, but in reality the two Liverpool captures are the only standout deals. Are West Ham placing their hopes in too few?
Andy Carroll may well regain his fitness and form, and for English football I really hope he does. That will never hide the fact that his move to West Ham was nothing short of reckless for the club.
Liverpool will no doubt be breathing a sigh of relief today, but for West Ham a painful dose of reality is about to hit.
Did Liverpool dodge a bullet with Carroll?
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