Liverpool would like to sell Andy Carroll to West Ham, turning his current loan deal into a permanent move. West Ham would like to buy Andy Carroll from Liverpool. And by most accounts, after arriving in London with doubts that forced the insertion of a clause allowing him to stop the loan deal being made permanent at the season's end should West Ham stay up, Andy Carroll would now be happy to stay there.
With both clubs and player now amenable to making the move permanent, it would seem a deal shouldn't be far off. Which of course means a spanner has been thrown in the works. And the spanner in this case appears to be the Premier League's new financial fair play regulations that will cap yearly wage increases. For West Ham, having just come up from the Championship and having run a deficit to do so, it could mean no room to take Carroll's current wages on full time.
"The hardest thing is the overall package and making sure it is sustainable," said West Ham manager Sam Allardyce when asked about his chances to keep the big striker beyond next month. "I point to financial restrictions being implemented next season that will blow the whole deal in one go.
"Someone will have a bigger budget than us probably but this is what is going to happen. In one fell swoop the financial restrictions mean we won't be able to sign Andy Carroll from Liverpool because it is too expensive, even if we wanted him, which we do."
After a slow start to the season for West Ham, one marked by injuries and largely ineffective play, 2013 has seen something of a revival for Carroll, and finally fully fit he is once again beginning to look the player Liverpool were willing to spend £35M of the Fernando Torres windfall on in 2010.
Now, while clearly the intent does exist on all sides to make a permanent deal happen, Allardyce's message seems clear—and that Carroll may have to be willing to take a pay cut to ensure being a regular starter at West Ham or face the possibility of returning to Liverpool only to be stuck on the bench for what should be the best years of his career.
Read More: Hurry Up and Wait: The Andy Carroll Story