Spending big money to sign Andy Carroll would be a giant miscalculation by newly-promoted West Ham United. Sam Allardyce needs to avoid making the same mistake Kenny Daglish and Liverpool made in January of 2011.
According to reports, West Ham agreed a deal to take Andy Carroll away from Anfield. The former Newcastle striker has so far resisted a loan move (with a permanent switch if West Ham remain in the Premier League) to Upton Park, but the Hammers want to sweeten the deal by offering a lucrative long-term contract.
Brendan Rodgers should be thrilled to sell Carroll for a fee in the region of £19 million (as has been suggested), but why would West Ham even think of paying that much for an underperforming striker? Of course, Carroll’s transfer value is inflated due to the fact that he’s English, but even so, he is not worth nearly that amount. Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli overpaid once for Carroll, and both are now out of jobs at Liverpool.
It’s easy to see why so many in English football are susceptible to falling into the Andy Carroll trap. He’s young. He’s big. And he’s English. The only problem is that Carroll cannot do much else besides win the ball in the air. He’ll score the occasional goal with his feet, but most of his work is done off the ground. In the modern game, expensive strikers need to be able to do more than provide a physical presence. Versatility is key.
Carroll would fit well into West Ham’s style of play, but Allardyce can find much cheaper options elsewhere. Just last season: Newcastle were able to sign Demba Ba for free. Everton were able to snatch Nikica Jelavic for around £5 million. And Fulham were able to secure a loan move for Pavel Pogrebnyak (who was signed by Reading this summer). All three of those players equaled or surpassed Carroll’s goal total of six last season, and Jelavic and Pogrebnyak made significantly fewer appearances.
No matter the facts, the fascination (some would call it a disease) with Andy Carroll will unfortunately continue. He’s young. He’s big. He’s English. And he’ll always find a place to be overpaid in the Premier League.
If Carroll joins West Ham, it won’t take long for Big Sam to learn the truth: Andy Carroll just isn’t that good. But, by that time, millions will already have been flushed down the drain. Allardyce may even suffer the same fate as Carroll’s first victims, Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli.