Andy Carroll – The £35 million gamble

by Ger McCarthy

Andy Carroll joined the pantheon of fabled Liverpool FC strikers last night for the princely sum of 35 million pounds following his surprise transfer from Newcastle United. Like former Anfield legends Ian Rush and Fernando Torres before him the Geordie striker is set to don the number nine jersey and has been tasked with scoring the goals to propel Liverpool back into Champions League contention alongside fellow new signing Luis Suarez from Ajax.

The 35 million pound transfer of Carroll – who has only 72 minutes of international football under his belt – appears a massive gamble for Kenny Dalglish, as the former Newcastle hit-man is still untried at the top level of club and international football. Only time will tell if bringing in an injured Carroll for the now departed Torres was the correct move for a club desperately short on quality striking talent.

Yet if Liverpool had 35 million pounds to spend then why not purchase a more experienced striker like say, Diego Forlan, who has regularly clicked up front with Suarez for Uruguay? The fact Forlan previously played for arch-rivals Manchester United should not have been a deterrent and his experience would have proven invaluable in what promises to be a tough run-in to the season as Liverpool attempt to finish as high up the table as possible.

In Carroll, Dalglish has gone for youth over experience, an un-cut diamond over a proven international striker and an individual whose off-field excursions involving a bar stool already make him a handy target for the tabloids before he even kicks a ball for his new club. Granted the inflated fee had a lot to do with the timing of the transfer as well as Carroll being English (just look at the money Darren Bent has cost in recent years) but if the former Newcastle United striker goes on to form a successful partnership with Suarez then the painful memory of losing Fernando Torres will quickly dissipate.

It is a big ‘if’ and 35 million is an awful lot of money for Liverpool to put their faith in Andy Carroll. An article detailing Carroll’s upset with being ‘pushed out the door’ at Newcastle published this morning may alarm Liverpool supporters.

Carroll Text: “They have kind of said we don’t want u but want me to say I wanna go. And I said I don’t wanna go.”

The thing is with Carroll it is going to take time to settle in, acclimatise with his new surroundings, and work on a partnership with his strike partner. Even though the 2010/2011 season is already something of a write-off Liverpool cannot rest of their laurels as they attempt to scramble back into the top four / five of the Premier League. An experienced purchase to partner Suarez up front would appear to have been the more sensible option even though under the guidance of Dalglish and Clarke the Geordie giant will only improve as a player but it is going to take time.

The transfer says a lot about the current mindset of the club as Dalglish is unlikely to have been granted such a generous transfer kitty by the club’s new owners unless he intends on remaining on as manager for the foreseeable future. For all Dalglish’s storied career as a previous Liverpool player-manager the success of the players purchased in this January 2011 transfer window will dictate his success or failure as manager second time around.

Torres’ departure has hurt Liverpool not because he joined Chelsea but because of why he joined Chelsea. The Spanish international’s comments about linking up with a ‘big’ club who are better equipped to challenge for trophies is the most damning remark about his and many other’s opinion of Liverpool FC’s current inability to challenge for top honours.

“I’m really happy and I’m sure I’m doing one of the biggest steps forward in my career, joining a club like Chelsea. This is the target for every footballer, to try to play for one of the top clubs in the world. I just want to be at the level I’m supposed to stay at” were the words uttered by the new Chelsea number nine last night.

The signing of Andy Carroll represents a dangerous but necessary throw of the dice for a club never accustomed to making such gambles at this time of the year. Liverpool’s previous talismanic striker left Anfield to pursue trophies and the burden to replace Torres and score the goals at the highest level now falls in the broad shoulders of a young Geordie.

Andy Carroll’s success or failure as Liverpool’s new striker will have a direct bearing on how quickly Liverpool return to the top table of English and European football, if at all.

Ger McCarthy is author of the book entitled ‘Off Centre Circle’ about a lifetime spent playing amateur football in IrelandFollow him on Twitter by clicking here.

9 Responses

  1. Warren says:

    You could say that about Forlan. Or you could say a 31 year old who flopped in the Premiership and would have cost £10m over a player who has thrived in his first season in the Premiership and at 22 would have a huge resale value.

  2. Archie_V says:

    Thing is, at the end of the day, etc., what Liverpool have shelled out for Carroll is only 70% of what they got for Torres. What set the silly-money ball rolling is Chelsea’s absurd largesse.

    Even so, I do have the feeling that being known for ever more as Andy “Worth A Million More Than David Villa Apparently” Carroll could be an albatross that he’ll have more than a bit of trouble trying to shake off.

    To put the silliness of the money – and the short-sightedness of English clubs’ scouts – in some perspective, in Spain over the last two years (i.e. very recently, economically speaking), Sevilla bought Alvaro Negredo for €15M and Valencia snapped up Roberto Soldado for only €10M. Both have scored more goals than Andy Carroll so far this season.

    Final data point: The most expensive transfer in Spain during this window was the heady sum of six million euros. Might they have realised something that
    English clubs still haven’t?

  3. Gilbert says:

    There is much wrong with this article.

    Firstly, Forlan failed in the Premier League and it has age would have been a huge risk, both in terms of ability and potential resale value.

    Secondly, Kenny was not given a huge transfer kitty. His net spend on Saurez and Carroll after the Torres and Babel sales is less than 2m.

  4. Neil Sherwin Neil Sherwin says:

    Some interesting reading here with the transcripts sent between Carroll and ToonTalk fanzine editor Steve Wraith -

    I have known Andy Carroll for 6 years and he is a great lad. A Newcastle fan at heart and someone who dreamt of wearing the NO.9 shirt at St James. He was proud to follow in Alan Shearer footsteps.I was with him with my mate Chris Liddle after the Sunderland game and he was adamant that he was staying and that a move did not interest him. Yesterdays events happened so quickly and I was stuck in the maelstrom of one of the biggest transfers in British history. This wasn\’t a set up. These texts have been made public with Andy\’s permission and I\’m happy to help my mate. I have helped set up his only interview which will break later today.Ask yourself what you would do in Andys position? A club that has already said they intend to buy young players and sell on at a profit. Football is a short career and you have to look after yourself in this world. This move was not engineered by Andy. He is a small cog in a big wheel. He is a rising star with a bigger pay packet now. As a fellow Gateshead lad I wish him all the best and will welcome him back to Newcastle anytime. I hope other fans will do the same. Good luck mate.

    Here is a transcript of the texts that i made and received.

    Sunday 30th January 14:37
    SW: Are you leaving mate?
    AC: I\’m not going anywhere mate.

    Monday 31st January 16:28

    SW: Liverpool in for you mate. Any truth in that?
    AC: Dunno what\’s happening yet still mate. Thanks.

    17:02
    SW: Sky Sports say it\’s a matter of time mate. What\’s club said?
    AC: they have kind of said we don\’t want u but want me to say I wanna go. And I said I don\’t want to go.

    17:26

    SW: Have you put in a transfer request?
    AC: No I didn\’t that\’s what I mean that\’s what they wanted me to do and I said no.

    17:27

    SW: So they want you to go?
    AC: They said they wanted to accept it.

    17:28

    SW: So you have no choice?
    AC: Looks like it.

    17:31
    SW: Your agent will be doing ok out of this. When you going?
    AC: I don\’t know mate. Gutted tho.

    17:32
    SW: Any message you want put across to the fans? I\’m happy to do that for you mate.
    AC: They said they wanted the money.

    17:37

    SW: Anything else?
    AC: Gutted to be leaving Newcastle but I was kind of pushed out the door.

    17:41
    SW: That it?
    AC: Just what i\’ve just said really. Gutted to be leaving my home club but I was practically told to go. Didn\’t want to leave that\’s why i signed a 5 year deal.

    17:47
    SW: I will pass these onto the press lads I know.
    AC: Sound mate.

    17:56
    SW: Can you give press lads a call to do an interview when deal done?
    AC: I will yeah. I will speak to him later. Bit busy atm mate.

  5. Archie_V says:

    Only in Football (part 248)

    Three weeks after his twenty-second birthday, a man from an area with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country learns that his services are so in demand that his salary has tripled overnight.

    From now on he’ll be earning five million pounds a year.

    His reaction?

    “Gutted, mate.”

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