ANDY CARROLL is a striker who polarises opinion like few others.
To some he is the archetype English frontman: rugged, powerful, fearless. To others, he is outdated, uncultured and injury-prone. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
There’s no doubting Carroll’s raw attributes. There are few, if any, that can match him aerially and his footballing technique is vastly underrated.
But too often his hulking frame has failed him and past off-field indiscretions haven’t been forgotten.
Now 29-years-old, Carroll isn’t going to hit the heights he appeared capable of during the early years of his career.
The Blues could offer Champions League football and an opportunity for the striker to prove himself alongside several of the world’s best.
The Hammers weren’t keen to let the striker leave, but reports claimed his head were turned and you can understand why.
A move to Stamford Bridge would have been a shock twist in a turbulent career, one we’ve asked our friends at Football Whispers to look back on.
November 3, 2006. Newcastle hold a narrow aggregate lead against Serie A side Palermo in the Uefa Cup.Everything you need to know about Andy Carroll after his turbulent January transfer window
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With the 90 minutes almost up, Magpies manager Glenn Roeder turned to a lanky young striker and told him to great ready; he was about to make Newcastle history.
Carroll, aged 17 years and 267 days, stood patiently on the touchline and waited for Nolberto Solano to slowly walk off the pitch.
This was a moment he’d dreamed off. A teenager from Gateshead making his debut for his boyhood club.
In doing so he became Newcastle's youngest ever European player.
That record that was surpassed six years later by Adam Campbell, now of Morecambe, who only made five first-team appearances for the club.
Carroll’s impact was much more lasting but not immediate. There were sporadic appearances during the remainder of the 2006/07 season and the one that followed.
In 2008/09 the striker would feature 14 times for the Magpies. He scored three times but couldn’t stop the club’s slide into the Championship.
Toon legend Alan Shearer oversaw that relegation and while he couldn’t save the club, he and assistant Iain Dowie influenced Carroll on the training pitches.
“You could argue that Andy should be sick and tired of myself and Alan out on the training ground pestering him to get the best out of him,” Dowie the Chronicle in 2009.
“He’s a good kid and he wants to work hard. That’s the great thing about Andy – he wants to get better.”
And away from the glare of the Premier League, that’s exactly what Carroll did. He became a vital part of Newcastle’s promotion push and played 42 games in all competitions.
More impressive, however, was his impact on the side.
The youngster netted 19 times and teed up a further 12 goals, many of which were for Kevin Nolan, who became good friends with Carroll.
Off the pitch, though, there were problems. In 2008 Carroll was arrested by police following an assault on a woman. He later accepted a caution.
And in December, 2009, he was again arrested, this time after a nightclub brawl.
He pleaded guilty to common assault and had to pay £1,494 in costs and £2,500 in compensation, as well as a £1,000 fine.
There were also two training ground bust-ups – the first with winger Charles N’Zogbia and the second with Steven Taylor, who was reportedly left with a broken jaw after the incident.
“There are one or two things going on off the pitch that he has to sort,” Newcastle legend Shearer said in April 2009.
“Everybody makes mistakes, but you can’t keep making them when you’re in his position.”
Newcastle clinched their return to the Premier League just weeks later and Carroll seemingly took the famous Magpies No9’s advice to heart.
But he also took on Shearer’s shirt number, a mark of his growing confidence.
“Alan Shearer was my idol as a young lad and who would have thought I’d be following in his footsteps?,” he said.
“It’s every young Geordie lads’ dream to be a Newcastle United No9 and I’m so lucky to be given that chance.”
Back in the top flight and far more well-rounded than in previous years, Carroll was able to impress.
By January he had scored 11 goals, with four coming in games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. There were also seven assists. It’s little wonder bigger clubs took an interest.
Liverpool were the side to pull the trigger on a move for Carroll, but only after they lost Fernando Torres to Chelsea on transfer deadline day in January 2011.
He arrived injured and didn’t make his debut until March, a 3-1 win over Manchester United.
A little over a month later he scored his first goals for the Reds, a brace in a 3-0 victory against Manchester City.
But Carroll wouldn’t find the net again that season and his struggles continued during the 2011/12 campaign.
He was out of place at Anfield and although he tried to adapt his game, Liverpool didn’t play to his strengths.
It’s why when Brendan Rodgers took charge at Anfield in the summer of 2012, Carroll’s time at the club was effectively ended. Rodgers claimed the then England international wouldn’t be moved on but on August 30 he joined West Ham on loan.
“With Brendan Rodgers, there was a lot going on,” Carroll told The Times in 2015.
“What he was saying to me and what was actually happening [were different things].
"He was telling me one thing to my face, then I’d leave the training ground and he would ring me and tell me a completely different thing.
“He would say: ‘You’re going to play every week, you’re going to play every game up front with [Luis] Suarez’.
"I’d leave and get home and he would ring me and say: ‘Fulham and West Ham want you and I think it’s best you should go.’”
Carroll’s move to east London was meant to kick-start his career after a difficult 18 months with Liverpool.
Stylistically Hammers manager Sam Allardyce appeared the perfect man to rebuild the frontman’s confidence.
But injuries hampered his loan spell. There was a hamstring problem in September and then a knee issue between December and January.
Carroll managed 26 appearances in all competitions and scored seven goals. It was enough for Allardyce to make the deal permanent for a then club-record £15m.
"The fans, the lads and the club itself have been great to me, and what I wanted to do was come back here and play football,” he said.
"Since the end of the season I've had a lot of time to think, I've missed it and that's why I'm back.”
Again, though, he’d miss a large amount of the season through injury. He was kept out until November with a broken foot and managed just 14 games and two goals during the 2013/14 season.
At the age of 25, Carroll was beginning to look like yesterday’s man.
His lifestyle off the pitch may have been a factor – he’s since admitted to being a big drinker in the past – and had to watch England’s 2014 World Cup on the television like the majority of the country.
And the 2014/15 season played out just like the one that preceded it.
Carroll featured in just 16 games due to differing injury issues, but maintained his body wasn’t faltering, it was only down to his style of play.
“It is the way I play – aggressive play,” he told the Evening Standard in April 2015.
“I am trying to give 100 percent every time and throw myself into everything. I think that is what happens.Andy Carroll is our Player of the Week after two important goals for West Ham against West Brom
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“In training I am not like that. I take my foot off the gas a little bit with our players but as soon as I am on the pitch, I don’t think anyone can stop me running about like I do throwing myself into challenges.”
His signing was beginning to look like an expensive gamble that wasn’t going to pay off for West Ham. But finally, the 2015/16 campaign saw Carroll stay injury free.
He played 36 times in all competitions during West Ham’s final season at Upton Park and scored nine goals, including an excellent hat-trick against Arsenal.
That day Carroll went from the unplayable to unplayable. His raw power meant he bullied the Gunners’ defence.
It was a snapshot of would he could be minus the constant injury problems, which again flared up last season.
His form this term has been patchy. He has only scored twice in the Premier League, which came at the start of this month against West Brom. It’s why Chelsea’s interest was strange.
Carroll hasn’t produced anything like his best form and the Blues certainly don’t play a style of football conducive to his talents – only two sides, Manchester City and Liverpool have played fewer long passes than the reigning Premier League champions this season.
But Antonio Conte wants another striker and one that can play as a target man; which is why they’ve turned their attention to Carroll.
His signing would be a risk, of that there is no doubt. But Carroll is world class in his own niche, as Slaven Bilic once proclaimed. “When it comes to heading, Andy is maybe the best in the world.”
A move to Stamford Bridge would allow Carroll another chance at the big time and could help him secure a place in the England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
But fail and it’ll go down as another disappointing chapter in his enigmatic career.
Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/5612863/andy-carroll-profile-west-ham-chelsea/