Liverpool: Andy Carroll - should he stay or should he go?
There have been some monumental moves in the Premier League this summer. Robin van Persie took off the captain's armband at Arsenal in a quest to win trophies at Manchester United, Luka Modric has finally departed Spurs for Spanish giants Real Madrid, while Chelsea have signed two world class players in Eden Hazard and Oscar.
But the saga of what to do with Andy Carroll continues to rumble on. The former Newcastle hitman has been the subject of intense speculation over the past few months with both Newcastle United and West Ham interested in signing him, but, as it stands, he remains determined to be a hit at Liverpool.
But should he stay at Anfield or cut his losses and move on?
Kenny Dalglish shelled out a British record fee of £35 million to Newcastle United for Andy Carroll bang on deadline day in January 2011. Having just sold Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50 million, Dalglish had to sign a replacement and Newcastle were not going to let their main man go cheaply.
At St James' Park, Carroll was proving to be a handful for defenders. The team was based around him and he thrived in that role. He would bully defenders, bring his team-mates into games, was strong in the air and had a fierce strike on him. Carroll was a throwback to the old style centre forwards.
However, life wasn't going to be so good at Anfield. He arrived with an injury and had to wait a number of weeks to make his debut. When he did, he looked out of his depth. With the likes of Gerrard and Suarez around, Carroll was never going to be the man the team looked for to make things happen. It took him until April 11 to open his account for Liverpool with two goals against Manchester City in a 3-0 win, but that was it for the season.
Last season didn't go much better. Although he had more game time he only managed nine goals during the whole campaign, only four of those coming in the league. But Carroll did look like he was finally starting to adapt to the Liverpool way of playing. Towards the end of the season he looked immense and even found himself on the plane to the European Championships.
Unfortunately the dismissal of Dalglish and the arrival of Brendan Rodgers saw Carroll's position called into question again. Rodgers has his own philosophy of how football should be played and many felt Carroll could not be played in that system. The former Swansea boss freely admitted that Carroll could leave if the right offer came in for him.
This must have been a bitter pill for Carroll to take, especially given the way he ended the season.
AC Milan, Newcastle United and West Ham United all made enquiries about his availability, West Ham even agreed a £17 million deal, but Carroll turned them down, determined to make it at Liverpool.With Borini and Suarez up front, Carroll must know that he will not be a first-team regular for the foreseeable future. But does he cut his losses and move on, or stay and fight to prove his manager wrong?
Carroll is too much of a talent to be warming up the subs bench. At 23 he should be out on the pitch each and every game using his energy to score goals and becoming an England regular. Unfortunately it looks as though that is not going to happen at Liverpool. But Liverpool need a plan B. Suarez and Borini are two smart strikers but Jimmy Krankie could give them a run for their money in an aerial battle. When the chips are down Carroll could provide them with an alternative option.
West Ham and Newcastle would guarantee Carroll first team appearances. The Hammers particularly under Big Sam would use his strength and height to their advantage, while he would instantly feel at home back at Newcastle.
Footballers have fragile egos. They need to feel wanted. Brendan Rodgers has more-or-less said that Carroll does not feature in his plans and can go. That has to hurt. But then is Carroll happy to be a bit-part player, pick up his wages and try to change the manager's opinion of him or does he want to be out on the pitch, making a name for himself each and every week?
At Liverpool he is at one of the most famous clubs in the world. They simply do not come much bigger than that. He may believe that he will never get an opportunity like this again. But he is still young. He can leave Anfield and still play for one of the game's greats.
Carroll has an amazing future in front of him, but will it be realised at Anfield or somewhere else?
Calling all Liverpool fans: What do you think Carroll should do and how much would you accept for him to leave? Do you think he can change Rodgers's opinion of him or should he leave now and revive his career elsewhere? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.