AC Milan: Is Andy Carroll The New Mark Hateley?
Here's the scenario - young English centre-forward, great in the air but still learning the game scores a goal during a summer international that makes clubs around the world sit up and take notice. Result? Fast track to one of Europe's elite club.
There are differences in their situations though. Back in 1984 there was no internet so Hateley's thumping header in an away friendly with Brazil was probably the first time anyone in Milan noticed him. Carroll has been at both Newcastle and Liverpool and, with the attention the Premier League gets, the number nine is hardly an unknown quantity.
Milan do have history when it comes to big, traditional British centre-forwards. As well as Hateley's three seasons there in the 80s they also acquired the services of the fearsome Joe Jordan and the less threatening Luther Blissett, whose tongue in cheek comment about the San Siro- 'where's the dog track?' - lives on in the memory.
Hateley and Jordan both had positive experiences in Milan, though Blissett's mediocre first touch ensured his stay was less happy. The Scot was even accorded a place in Milan's 110 top players on the occasion of the club's 110th anniversary.
It's important to point out that the early 1980s Milan were not the all-conquering side that would emerge at the end of the decade. They were under the cloud of a match-fixing scandal and in Jordan's first season they were actually relegated. His double figure tally in Serie B the next year contributed to the promotion push - over 10 goals was always a decent tally against the ultra-miserly Italian defences of the period.
Hateley had three years in Milan and while he didn't pull up trees, he didn't disgrace himself either. Much like Ray Wilkins who was there at the time, he proved popular with team-mates and fans for a willingness to embrace the Serie A culture.
He acquired the nickname 'Attila' for his physique and approach. It's a curiosity of Italian fans that though they pride themselves on the technique of their game they will also appreciate a physical battle - the likes of Alessandro Altobelli, Luca Toni, Roberto Bettega and Christian Vieri have all been famously combative home grown centre-forwards.
British centre-forwards do have a good reputation in Italy thanks to the legendary John Charles of Juve fame and the less celebrated Norman Adcock, who was a top player for Padova before World War Two.
And there's no doubt that Milan fans love a big striker. After the Brits in the early 80s they would soon have Marco Van Basten to drool over and then George Weah - two extremely skilful players on the deck but also able to put themselves about and compete in the aerial battle. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is another tall striker who has graced the San Siro - in his case for both sides of the city divide. He bagged 28 goals in his first season with the rossoneri.
Apparently Carroll's strike against Sweden reawakened the interest in the aerial game - possibly teams are looking for an alternative way of taking on the Spanish tiki-taka style. Certainly it would be interesting to see the likes of Pique and Ramos taking on Carroll with decent service.
For the moment nothing has come of it but Brendan Rogers has hinted he would let the striker go on loan - and the way his Swansea sides played wouldn't really suit Carroll's game. Perhaps everyone can gain fron a spell at the San Siro where a fit and feisty Andy Carroll could evoke some positive memories.
Calling all football fans: Do you agree with Hugh? Could Carroll benefit from a spell at the San Siro? If you were in Brendan Rodgers' position, would you let Carroll go? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.