When Andy Carroll arrived at Upton Park on the last day of the summer transfer window many people were shocked at how a so-called £35 million player had ended up at a newly promoted side in the Premier League.
His transfer from Newcastle to Liverpool was equally as shocking considering he only really had one good season at St. James’ Park. But the big question now is whether West Ham should take up the option of first refusal at the end of the season or send him back to Liverpool where he clearly isn’t wanted.
The striker’s impact at West Ham was immediate after he was involved in Kevin Nolan’s 1st minute opener in the 3-0 home win over Fulham in September. He continued to be a handful up front and he seemed to fit perfectly into Sam Allardyce’s style of play.
However, just one goal in 10 appearances wasn’t the contribution West Ham were expecting. Many believed a new club with new surroundings and the opportunity to link up again with best friend Kevin Nolan would see Carroll re-discover the goal scoring form that earned him that big money move to Liverpool in the first place.
But should we be looking beyond his lack of goals and be appreciating the extra dimension he gives the Hammers up top? There’s no denying he plays a major part in West Ham’s attacking threat and his aerial presence was un-rivalled in the Premier League before injury struck a few weeks ago.
During his absence, West Ham have struggled to pick up results and are clearly missing him. That makes you wonder whether he is imperative to West Ham’s success in the Premier League regardless of how many goals he scores.
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Is he worth the money? Seventeen million quid is a hell of a lot of money for a club like West Ham to be paying for one player, but if he can remain fit and continue building up an understanding with his new team mates then it’s a sacrifice I think West Ham must make.
With him due to return to action in mid-January, he will no doubt have another striker to compete for a starting place with. Allardyce is not likely to play 4-4-2 so we shouldn’t expect to see him being partnered up front with an old fashioned goal poaching forward, but the extra competition for places will help him improve and try harder to impress. After all, the pressure that huge price tag has given him will urge the striker to prove the country that he was worth every penny.
From West Ham’s point of view, and especially Sam Allardyce, it will all depend on how well he does in the second half of the season. If he gets a few assists on the board and scores some important goals then there will be a case for the club to spend a lot of money to keep him there. We all know he is the perfect fit for West Ham and their style of play, but if he can’t prove it then taking a punt on the hope that he’ll be better next season is risky.
With Andy Carroll, he will need to make a decision on whether he wants to remain at West Ham or not. There’s no point playing at a club when your heart is elsewhere and it’s clear he dreams of a return to Newcastle. Captain Kevin Nolan will play a huge part in that decision, I’m sure, and he’ll be eager to keep Carroll in London, but if he doesn’t feel it’s right for him here then the club or the fans wouldn’t begrudge him turning down a permanent move.
It is a lot of money but, in my opinion, he will be worth every penny. He works hard and fits in well at Upton Park and with the support of the fans, Allardyce and his team mates can give him, he’ll soon realise West Ham is a perfect place for him to justify the money Liverpool paid for him. Dig deep, Gold and Sullivan, because Big Andy is what we need to continue improving in the Premier League.
Do you think West Ham should splash the cash on Andy Carroll? Or is £17 million too much for a player who we are still waiting to see the best of in the Premier League?