Since his club record £15m move to West Ham in 2013, Andy Carroll has been not far short of a disaster for the Hammers. Injuries limited the burly forward to just 12 Premier League starts last term, and he’s yet to feature this season due to, you guessed it, injury.
With Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho having both made blistering starts to life in east London since their summer moves, the Irons appear to be in a good place right now under the watchful eye of Sam Allardyce – who, to his credit, has brought more attractive football to the table – leading many to question Carroll’s presence at the club. With his powerful frame suited to a target man role, there are worries that the former Liverpool ace will hinder the progress being made at Upton Park, which has prompted talk of a move in January.
But where could big Andy go? We’ve put together a list of FIVE options for the hit-man…
Born and raised on Tyneside before pulling on the black and white shirt, Carroll is undoubtedly loved at Newcastle despite leaving in 2011 to complete a botched £35m switch to Liverpool. Reports have suggested that the Magpies are keen to bring back their former hero in the New Year as Alan Pardew plots to add goals to his struggling side, and it would appear that the potential arrangement would suit all involved.
Carroll impressed at the start of the 2010/11 campaign at St James’ Park, and being back in his home city after a tough spell may be just the tonic needed to get him firing once again.
There are few teams that have the budget and are suited to Carroll, but QPR are certainly one. Harry Redknapp’s Super Hoops have been nothing short of woeful since their return to the top tier, with four points and a lack of goals major issues facing the Londoners. Carroll could be the remedy to their issues, with the club having already been loosely linked with a swoop for the 25-year-old.
With Charlie Austin currently the main man in north west London, a player of the burly Geordie’s experience and quality could be vital, with ‘Arry able to make him the focal point of the attack.
Neil Warnock is likely to be backed in January, and Carroll could be a player he turns to. The Eagles impressed last season as they dragged themselves clear of relegation under Tony Pulis, but goals were a problem – their tally of 33 was only one better than rock-bottom Cardiff’s lowest in the division haul.
10 in seven this term is a major improvement, yet Carroll could add more power and composure to Palace’s attack, and, in turn, help them comfortably avoid the drop.
A loan move down to the Championship could be just the shirt-term fix Carroll needs. The striker has missed a large chunk of recent action through injury, which is sure to have drastically hindered his confidence. As an able Premier League hit-man, the England international would be a cut above in the Championship, which could help him to rediscover his goalscoring mojo and get back to full fitness.
In truth few teams could afford the big man in the second tier, but recently relegated sides such as Fulham, Norwich and Cardiff have funds, while Wolves or Nottingham Forest may also be keen as they look to push ahead with promotion charges.
Like the Championship, The Scottish Premier League is, no disrespect intended, a level below the Premier League. Should Carroll head north of the border his class would be evident, which could help him to rediscover his best form.
After a dodgy start, Celtic – the only side who can realistically mount a move – are in desperate need of inspiration to avoid their worst season in recent memory, and a big name arrival such as Carroll could spark an upturn in fortunes. Finances may, however, be an issue.