A transfer masterstroke by West Ham or a disaster waiting to happen?

Lack of penetration from the flanks

Two of the most criticised players in Premier League football would have to be that of two Englishman, in Stewart Downing and Andy Carrol, and it appears the duo who played together at Liverpool are set to be reunited once again, but this time in London with West Ham United.

Both of these players were subject to incessant media scathing and social network humour following their under-achievement after their moves to Anfield, but by bringing the two back under partnership with one another, has Sam Allardyce worked magic, or is the combination set for disaster once more.

Clearly, one of the factors which was used to diminish the talent of the two England Internationals were the extremely high transfer fees which were paid for them. Downing was brought to Anfield from Aston Villa for £20 million, whilst Carrol set the club back a startling £35 million. It is only natural for presumptions to be made based on these figures and thus as soon as performances begin to dwindle in the eyes of certain individuals, ratings on these players plummeted despite the class of the men having not deteriorated as much as one may have thought.

Stewart Downing has been ridiculed since his arrival at Liverpool for his lack of contribution, however this has been perhaps over-stated. In the Premier League last season, Downing scored 3 goals, and assisted 5 in the 29 games he played, and whilst this is not a spectacular statistic, it isn’t horrendous. It can easily be argued that there must be some reason for Liverpool having paid such a high figure for the player, having demonstrated his quality at both Middlesbrough and Aston Villa. His last season playing for the Villains for example, Downing mustered 8 goals and 11 assists in the whole campaign.

Carroll equally suffered the same fate when leaving Newcastle for Liverpool back on that famous last day of the transfer window in the January 2011 for an inflated fee of £35 million. Before making the transfer, Carroll had accumulated 11 goals in 20 Premier League matches; however following the transfer there was only two more goals scored that season.

Now, statistics are obviously a crucial thing to assess, but this can not be wholly relied upon, and this was a gamble made by Allardyce when signing Andy Carroll last season, and it turned out to be one of the better transfers made. Despite injuries occurring throughout the season, he managed to accumulate 7 goals in 24 matches for The Hammers. He has now signed on a permanent deal, for £15 million. Not a small transfer by any means, but when compared to the price paid by Liverpool, it signifies a large drop. It means that Carroll can play with less media spotlight attention on him for the forthcoming season and try and recreate his form and talent he proved for Newcastle, and at times England.

Signing Downing to combine with Carroll could well be one of the riskier moves made by Allardyce, but he has been in the world of management for many seasons now, and there must be something which he has seen, or been informed of in Downing which has created this desire to bring the Englishman to Upton Park.

It is a common feature for brilliant players to suffer at the hands of high transfer fees, and many greats have done so as well. Fernando Torres would perhaps be the most obvious one, firing on all cylinders for Liverpool before his £50million move to Chelsea, and since then we have not seen his pace and clinical finishing. This is not to say they do not re-kindle their careers however.

West Ham finished last season in impressive fashion, and secured a 10th place finish, comfortably above the relegation slots, and have already made some decent signings this transfer window already. Carroll has been joined by Razvan Rat, Danny Whitehead and Adrian Castillo. Signing Stewart Downing, and at a meagre price of £5 million would certainly be a wise deal by Allardyce in my eyes, and help lead West Ham to a top 10 finish, if not more.

A lot of people will certainly feel it is a risk by trying to bring Carroll and Downing together, but there were plenty of those when he first made a move for the striker alone, and that proved to aid The Irons. Whilst it certainly can’t be argued Downing didn’t enjoy his time at Liverpool, his talent is undeniable, and that is why he has been selected for England previously and that Premier League clubs seemingly continuously sign the 29 year-old. In my book, Allardyce has done well, but what do you think?

Is a Downing and Carroll partnership transfer genius, or will it end in disaster?

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