If Crystal Palace bid anywhere near £25m for West Ham’s injury-prone centre-forward Andy Carroll, the Irons should bite their hands off and turn attention to the striker Eagles manager Alan Pardew has been chasing all summer.
Carroll has missed 82 fixtures through injury since arriving in east London four years ago from Liverpool – initially on loan ahead of a £15m permanent switch – according to website transfermarket.com.
The 27-year-old Geordie enjoyed his best campaign in the claret and blue so far during Slaven Bilic’s first term in charge of West Ham, rattling the onion bag nine times in 27 Premier League fixtures.
He stands a fine chance of starting up front when Bilic’s side kick-off their Premier League campaign away to Chelsea, where Carroll is 8/1 to net the opener, with Diafra Sakho apparently on his way out and a replacement for the Senegalese number nine not yet secured.
Last year’s seventh-placed side have been linked with AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca and Irons oldboy Carlos Tevez among others this summer, with the odd whisper going round about a bid for Liverpool misfit Christian Benteke.
An opportunity to sign the Belgian, who has had his own fitness issues yet outscored Carroll by 51 goals to 23 over the past four Premier League campaign, may have now presented itself.
Carroll’s former Newcastle boss Pardew, who reluctantly parted with the 6ft3in forward in exchange for £35m when in charge on Tyneside, was expected to eventually go the whole hog and up Palace’s £25m Benteke bid to £32m, Liverpool’s valuation, by the summer’s end.
That seems less likely now, with the Daily Express suggesting interest from West Brom has forced Pardew to scope out other targets, with his old Magpies charge firmly on the radar.
West Ham would be mad not to capitalise should Palace meet their number for Carroll, who the Express believes is keen to move on.
Bagging Benteke, two years younger than Carroll with a far superior strike rate and arguably much more to his game, could have a huge impact on Bilic’s ability to lead his side to an 8/1 top-four finish this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.