On-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll will fight for a first team place at Anfield next season, according to sources close to the player. The 24-year-old is presently with Sam Allardyce's West Ham United, for whom he has seven goals in 21 Premier League games.
"Andy has enjoyed it at West Ham and he's in good form - but he's never hidden the fact that he wants to be a success at Liverpool," a source was quoted by Goal.com.
The England international made a £35m deadline-day switch from St James' Park in January, 2011, and was expected to replace Chelsea-bound Spaniard Fernando Torres. Unfortunately for him, Carroll failed to replicate his Newcastle United form and managed only two goals in the final few months of that season.
His performances were not particularly impressive in his first full season with the club either, with only four goals in 35 league games. Nevertheless, he enjoyed the confidence of former manager Kenny Dalglish.
When Brendan Rodgers arrived, though, it was quickly clear the powerful centre-forward was not a part of the northern Irishman's plans and speculation linked him with a return to Newcastle. But the two clubs failed to agree a transfer fee and he was loaned to the Hammers instead.
£17m Price Tag
The Reds would no doubt like to have a significant amount of transfer funds available in the summer; as of now it is believed Rodgers will have only £20m. The sale of fringe players could boost that amount and based on recent results, Carroll is certainly in that category.
However, shifting a player who cost £35m but has failed to live up to those standards will be tricky. Liverpool are believed to want at least £17m for their player.
However, both West Ham and Newcastle are likely to be aware Liverpool are in a spot of bother. Rodgers is unlikely to play the striker regularly and with wages believed to be between £80,000 and £90,000, to leave him on the bench is a difficult proposition to stomach. The Telegraph reported earlier the Magpies could open with a £7m bid and go as high as £10m and Goal.com adds the Hammers could make a similar bid.
All of this is, of course, moot, if Carroll digs his heels in and remains at Anfield. He has three years left on his contract and if he is serious about proving himself to Rodgers, he could present the Kop boss with quite a problem.