By Dominic King
West Ham will launch a final attempt to land Andy Carroll before the window closes with a deal that will shape Liverpool’s transfer fortunes.
Though the England striker has consistently made it clear he does not want to leave Anfield, his omission from the squad for Thursday night’s Europa League qualifier against Hearts effectively means his Liverpool career is over.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers would like to add Theo Walcott to his squad, even though it emerged the Arsenal forward will see out the final year of his contract at the Emirates after holding amicable talks with Arsene Wenger.
But should Liverpool offload Carroll, they would be in a position to test Arsenal’s resolve on Walcott, who earlier this summer turned down a new five-year deal worth £75,000 per week.
Liverpool’s tight financial constraints mean they cannot bid for Walcott outright but offloading Carroll to West Ham would change things dramatically.
West Ham would initially take Carroll, 23, on a season-long loan, paying his £80,000 per week wages in full, and then – provided they remain in the Barclays Premier League – would be obliged to sign him permanently for £17milllion.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has been desperate to land Carroll ever since it became clear his prospects under Rodgers would be limited and he is looking to move on Carlton Cole to free up space in his squad. Newcastle continue to remain on the periphery and manager Alan Pardew refused to rule his club out of the reckoning, saying: ‘Would I want him in my squad? Of course I would. Probably every Premier League manager in the country would want him in their squad. ‘But can the deal be done? That’s nothing to do with me.’
It will be a hectic final two days for Liverpool, as they are expected to offload Charlie Adam to Stoke – though it would be no surprise if Everton emerged as late rivals – while Jay Spearing has the option of a number Premier League clubs, including Aston Villa and Southampton, on loan.
Rodgers would also want to sign long-term target Clint Dempsey from Fulham but it is clear that the days when Liverpool could simply go out and sign a player with barely a quibble have gone.
When asked whether Liverpool could afford to buy without selling, Rodgers replied: ‘No. Not at this stage, obviously I have seen a lot of the links and it is great that those players would want to come here but the reality is that we are not in a position to do those sorts of deals.
‘I don’t think we are in a position to have £35million players as third choice strikers or wingers who are on £5-6million a year. This is the challenge I have.
‘The club needs to repair financially. Unfortunately it is going to take more than one window. This is an incredible club but even if you want to move some players on, because of the wages and other factors, they are not just going to walk out the door.
‘It is going to take us time to get to the squad we want. In the meantime we have to keep our head down and work hard and get results.’