THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

2 February ~ Unsurprisingly there has been a lot of debate and comment in the hours since Andy Carroll’s transfer to Liverpool took place, pretty much all of which has centred on the price and how much of a gamble it is for Liverpool to spend such a colossal amount of money on a relatively unproven player. Speculation has been rife as to how he will be accommodated, with the more pro-Dalglish commentators of the opinion that the Carroll-Suarez partnership will be the making of Liverpool and others seriously questioning the wisdom of the transfer for the club. What no one seems to be questioning is the wisdom of the move for Andy Carroll himself.

This isn’t some sort of glib "my club’s bigger than your club" nonsense. Even the swivel-eyed loons who are routinely dredged up by Sky Sports News to comment on all things Tyneside would acknowledge that Liverpool have a better long term chance of actually winning trophies. It isn’t an issue around remuneration either, for a club that is willing to shell out £35 million is unlikely to skimp on the contract. It is, however, a serious issue relating to Carroll’s long-term development.

One of the reasons for his success this season has been the fact that he has been playing in a side that has been set up around him. Two wide men and full-backs pushing forward has been the norm at St James’ Park and the quality of the crossing, especially from Joey Barton, has been a major factor in Carroll’s effectiveness. He has also been surrounded by players prepared to put in an unselfish stint around him, especially Kevin Nolan and Shola Ameobi, which has unquestionably helped.

It is difficult to see Liverpool adopting the same approach, not least because they suffer from a dearth of decent wide players and will also be looking at ways to accommodate Luis Suarez, as well as pandering to the whims of Steven Gerrard. There is a very real risk that Carroll will find himself a fish out of water while Liverpool alternate between trying to play the ball on the ground and hitting aimless long balls somewhere in the vicinity of their new centre-forward.

There is also, of course, the price tag. Carroll has yet to play a full season of Premier League football and will almost certainly suffer a dip in form at some point, especially given the potential issues outlined above. When he does he will no longer be "promising Newcastle striker Andy Carroll" but "£35 million striker Andy Carroll" – given that his transfer hasn’t exactly been greeted with fanfares of Kopite trumpets then it will be interesting to see how long a dip in form would be tolerated for by both fans and owners.

If he starts poorly, and bear in mind that he will be coming back from injury, then the knives could be out very early on. £35m is quite a gamble for Liverpool but it is also more of a gamble than the media seem to think for Carroll. James Thomson

Comments (13)
Comment by HORN 2011-02-02 11:39:44

Well. Worst case scenario is he's back at Newcastle inside 24 months, with Ashley having made 15 million on the deal.

Comment by caleyi 2011-02-02 11:56:58

Kenny's best mates in the media can't bring themselves to admit it, but this transfer has absolutely no relation to the "bringing back the glory years" and "Anfield boot room" talk they're so keen to dredge up. It's the daftest panic buy I've ever seen. Carroll is a decent Premiership centre-forward, no more and no less. He is nowhere near Champions League/international class which is what you should be spending £35m on.

Comment by The Exploding Vole 2011-02-02 13:04:38

"Worst case scenario" is surely that he's abducted by aliens and never seen by his poor family again.

Comment by Bazza 2011-02-02 13:07:15

There is always a gamble for both parties when a player moves clubs, especially when such large sums are involved. Liverpool were forced into paying over the odds for a replacement as Torres had made it clear that he wanted a move and looking at his lack of effort this season he wasnt going to be of much benefit for the rest of it.

£35 million is a lot for Carroll, but he is young, has obvious potential and will be working with two of the best coaches and man-mangers in the bussiness (Dalglish & Clarke).

Liverpool will not fit a team around Carroll, they will improve his alround game and he will fit into the team.

Having a team built around one or two players does not work; Liverpool for the last few years have done it and failed where as Man U, Chelsea & Arsenal who do not rely on one or two players.

Comment by HORN 2011-02-02 13:10:18

Fear not, Mr and Mrs Carroll. No alien wil come near your boy while he persists with that ponytail

Comment by Analogue Bubblebath II 2011-02-02 13:15:44

How is Dalglish "one of the best coaches in the business"?

Comment by HORN 2011-02-02 13:44:57

Well, he's barely lost a game in ten years. Beat that.

Comment by tempestinaflathat 2011-02-02 17:34:37

Why, if any English club buys any striker more than six foot tall, is the stock response always 'oh, they'll just lump the long balls up to him'? I know it might be a shocking revelation, but there are managers out there who don't believe that tall players exist purely to have long balls lumped in their general direction.

Okay, I know, none of them have ever managed England. But they do exist, trust me.

Comment by Coral 2011-02-02 17:51:22

Name them?

Comment by JimDavis 2011-02-03 16:04:28

Does make me laugh that they paid 35 million for a striker who couldn't even score against West Brom earlier this season.
I wonder what the odds are that Zigic for Birmingham will score more goals than Carroll between now and the end of the season?

Comment by PRB 2011-02-03 17:42:34

I'm happy enough with the moves by Liverpool. Let's face it, Torres didn't want to be there and to recoup what we did for a player wanting away and who is injury prone was good business. Having sold Babel a few days earlier, we put the total income of money towards two new strikers that wanted to be there, that made the squad younger, and cut the wage bill with a total net spend of 2 million. That still leave the general transfer budget effictivly untouched for the summer.

At the end of the day, the price is relitive. Liverpool were cash rich and time poor and Newcastle knew it. If that is what they were asking and were not going to budge under it and Carroll represented the type of footballer they wanted to lead the line - a style of player that is rare to find these days - then you have to pay it.

Comment by caleyi 2011-02-04 12:37:09

This "£2m net spend" is a complete misnomer - they've overspent on Carroll by £20-25m. That money buys a damn good centre-half and a fine attacking left-back, which anyone can see is lacking at Anfield. Having the money to spend is not the same as investing well.
Suarez is a good deal though.

Comment by PRB 2011-02-06 18:57:05

How did they pay too much if Newcastle weren't going to sell for any less. If that's who they truly wanted they had to go get him.

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