Newcastle United were today weighing up an increased offer for Andy Carroll – after West Ham moved to sign the striker for £19m.
The newly-promoted club are in talks with Liverpool over a proposed £2m season-long loan deal for Carroll with a view to a £17m permanent move to Upton Park.
However, Carroll is yet to give West Ham any encouragement that he is willing to sign for them.
Instead, the 23-year-old is understood to be keen to return to his native Tyneside – if his Anfield career is at an end. Much will depend on Newcastle’s next move, the club having earlier this month offered to taken Carroll on loan ahead of a £13.5m switch in a year’s time.
Liverpool – who paid United £35m for the striker in January last year – want closer to £20 for the England international.
And it’s unlikely Newcastle will significantly raise that offer for the Gateshead-born player, who does not seem to fit into Brendan Rodgers’s long-term plans despite comments made during the club’s tour of the United States.
Rodgers said he wasn’t looking to “push him out of the door”, but it seems clear Liverpool are willing to do a deal – at the right price.
Ambitious West Ham, for their part, are hopeful of persuading Carroll to join them. The club, which last night insisted the proposed deal hadn’t been finalised, hope that Carroll’s friendship with former St James’s Park team-mate Kevin Nolan, now captain at Upton Park, could prove decisive.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce also worked with Carroll during his brief spell in charge of United.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has been kept informed of the situation while on tour with his team.
However, Pardew says the club will only sign him if the “figures” add up, and owner Mike Ashley is unlikely to match West Ham’s offer.
The developments on Carroll’s future come as Newcastle striker Demba Ba’s release clause is set to expire tonight.
And should Ba still be a United player tomorrow – when any club would have to pay the market price for the 27-year-old, easily double the £7m clause in his contract – United manager Alan Pardew would breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Pardew and his players were today due back on Tyneside after spending the past six days in Portugal, where they won the Torneo Guadiana.