Of course there is a long way to go before any such return happens and I personally have severe doubts over whether it will happen at all, but all the same it does appear that we are actually in for him.
However there are two strong trains of thought forming over the potential transfer. The Andy Carroll we know isn’t the same one that has been at Liverpool for 18 months. On his day he is unplayable and Liverpool haven’t seen that often enough to justify the £35m they shelled out for him in January 2011 which has led to criticism from fans and media alike.
When Carroll left for Liverpool many people wondered what would happen with us. We lost other players like Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique soon after, but the upshot is that we’ve done just fine without him and, in my opinion, play better, more attractive football as a result.
Part of the problem with Carroll is that you have to supply him with the right service. Joey Barton was excellent at this and with Kevin Nolan feeding off the scraps we had a trio of players who all looked better than what they actually are. It’s no coincidence that since they’ve been split up the performances of all three of them have suffered.
Do we currently play to Carroll’s strengths and can we supply with with the service that he used to thrive off with our current contingent of players? I’m not so sure. I mean look at our wingers – Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez – neither of whom are exactly renowned for their pinpoint diagonal crosses. Jonas, bless him, would fall over if he tried to cross a ball like that whilst Hatem is one to run it into the box himself. Marveaux I can’t really comment on as I’ve not seen a great deal of him.
Is Andy Carroll mobile enough to get onto the end of balls threaded through by the likes of Yohan Cabaye? Not on a consistent basis in my view and I struggle to recall a time when he could be the “last man” breaking forward in an attack.
In general I would say our play has moved on from Andy Carroll. His height and aerial prowess would promote a certain brand of football, which is generally sneered upon on Tyneside but seems perfectly acceptable as long as the player involved is a Geordie… However I still think he can play a role for us.
We do need another striker through the door and we know what Carroll can do so on that score it makes sense, and whilst I do think that in general our style of play has evolved shouldn’t it be all about having different options for different scenarios?
Wouldn’t Andy Carroll provide us with that?
Personally speaking I’m not overly against signing him again providing he is willing to wait his time. In no way, shape or form should he be a guaranteed starter although I do believe there will be plenty of game time for him here with all the games we’ll hopefully have this season.
On the other hand there seems to be an awful lot of hype about a player who, in brutal honestly, has done nothing since he left us. If we were signing an unknown striker who would cost somewhere near £15m would the clamour be exactly the same? How about signing Kevin Davies for the same fee? See my point?
There is a lot of romanticising going on and whilst it’s always a nice notion to see a local lad gone wrong returning home we have no way of actually telling if his one season with us was just a flash in the pan or whether he can hit those levels again, especially after spending 18 months pretty much stagnating at Liverpool.
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