Allardyce Seeks to Build West Ham Around Carroll

Clive Brunskill

Andy Carroll's season-long loan at West Ham has come to an end, but manager Sam Allardyce wants him back next season—and he wants to build his Hammers side around the big striker.

Back in the England picture and having capped off his season with another strong showing for West Ham in their 4-2 victory over Reading, Andy Carroll once again finds himself a Liverpool player. It's something of a deflating and uncertain coda to a season that saw Carroll build from an injury-plagued beginning to become key to West Ham's top flight survival as the London club marked a successful return to the Premier League.

If West Ham have their way, though, his future won't remain uncertain for very long. Both of the club's directors have come out to identify holding on to Carroll as their top priority for the offseason, and, after initially signalling concern the striker's high wages could be a stumbling block, manager Sam Allardyce has now fully joined the upper management chorus.

"If we can start with Andy Carroll that would be a great achievement for us as he can only get better and better," said Allardyce following Sunday's final round of Premier League matches. "Then we build around that in terms of how we want to improve next year, with better quality. It is our target to make it a permanent situation."

Sorting out the details may be easier said than done, but there's no hiding that West Ham are as desperate to hold on to Carroll as Liverpool are to sell him. Allardyce has even, it would seem, elevated Carroll beyond even the top priority the Hammers' directors painted him as—he's now the cornerstone of West Ham's future; the player Allardyce wants to build his side around.

"Hopefully we can get somewhere in the near future to do that," added the West Ham manager. "It’s our main priority. There are negotiations between the club and Liverpool. We have to pursue it to the very end one way or another and we will find out as quick as we can if it is a yes or a no."

Now that Newcastle surviving their relegation fight, Liverpool may have more than one suitor for the striker, and with West Ham making their desire to hold on to him inescapably clear it should make for an interesting—if still uncertain—summer.

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