The next port of call for Andy Carroll is set to be one of the headline stories of the post-season.
The England striker’s loan spell at West Ham has ended on the up. He was virtually unplayable against Reading on Sunday, with his touch restored and his goal menace amplified.
Carroll appears to have no future at his parent club Liverpool however, where Daniel Sturridge has slotted in sumptuously, and Luis Suarez is the indisputable number one striker, when he is not banned.
And so Carroll has been left in limbo, and his agent is likely hawking the striker’s CV like a fong-kong Chiefs jersey at the robots.
In one of the more outlandish transfer rumours, Carroll has been linked to French Ligue 2 champions Monaco, although even the rumour mill admits it is highly unlikely that the lank haired Geordie has a future in the French principality.
Most likely is that Carroll will remain at Upton Park, where his brutish aerial prowess is tailor made for manager Sam Allardyce’s less then graceful brand of football, and where the fans chanted “We want you stay” at the weekend.
The Hammers will try to sign Carroll on a permanent deal. But with Liverpool keen to recoup as much of the £35 million they wasted when signing him from Newcastle, West Ham say Carroll is “too expensive.”
The Reds are holding out for an estimated £17 million for Carroll, and West Ham admit that keeping him has now become one of their priorities.
“He is, obviously, our target to make it a permanent signing if we can,” Allardyce said of Carroll to West Ham’s official website.
“Hopefully we can get somewhere in the near future to do that. It’s our main priority at the moment.
“We have to pursue that to the very end, one way or the other, and find out as quickly as we can whether it’s going to be a yes or a no. So that’ll be the first priority - and, of course, it we can start with Andy Carroll, that will be a great achievement for us.
“At his young age, he can only get better and better in terms of his playing prowess. Then I think we build around that in terms of what we want to improve next.”
Carroll is considered too one-dimensional for the system Rodgers stands for at Liverpool. But Allardyce believes Carroll’s football is not given the respect it deserves.
“You see his all-round ability showing more and more in every game that he plays,” he said.
“It’s not just about his aerial prowess in the box - it’s about his overall game, his hold-up play, his quality on the ball and his retention of possession. He makes life very difficult for centre-halves and his all-round game is getting better and better.”