West Ham United have made Liverpool striker Andy Carroll a "priority" signing. The Hammers' boss, Sam Allardyce, confirmed his intention to sign the England forward to a long-term contract at Upton Park.
The 24-year-old impressed on a season-long loan to the club, after Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers made it clear the club's record £35m signing had no place in his plans.
The Reds sought to move him on quickly last summer, with the Hammers joined by the player's former club, Newcastle United, on the list of suitors. However, a failure to agree on fees precluded a full transfer and Carroll was loaned out instead.
"At this moment in time, our first priority is signing Andy Carroll, if we can," Allardyce told the club's official Web site, adding, "We have nearly finished our planning for pre-season and the players have all had their programmes given to them to take away to start training while they are relaxing at home or on their holidays."
According to a Telegraph report in early April, the Reds value Carroll at £17m, which is a sizeable fee and led Allardyce to speak about the need to be cautious in the transfer market, highlighting UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) system as a reason.
"It depends on what players we bring in and on how much we spend. Unfortunately, for the first time ever, there is a restriction on that [spending] throughout the football in this country. It will be difficult to deal with but we'll have to get through it and see how it works," the former Bolton boss admitted.
It could also depend on Carroll himself. The former Magpies star was earlier reported as being unwilling to leave Anfield without proving himself.
West Ham finished the 2012/13 Premier League in 10th place, an impressive feat considering it was their first season after being relegated in 2011. And Allardyce is hopeful of an even more impressive showing in the new season.
"It's not just me demanding that but the supporters will be demanding it as well. They will be saying 'You finished tenth in your first year, so surely you can finish higher'," Allardyce concluded.