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West Ham Chairman Admits Carroll "Our Number One Target"

Liverpool put themselves in a poor negotiating position by making it clear Andy Carroll doesn't have a future at Anfield, but West Ham are making it equally clear just how desperate they are to keep hold of him.

Paul Gilham

The current season isn't even over yet, but already it feels as though everything that could have been said about the potential permanent move to West Ham by Andy Carroll has been said. In some cases, it feels as though it's all been said four or five times already.

The player seems happy there; West Ham want him; and Liverpool clearly don't. Meanwhile, his teammates at the Hammers have spoken of their desire to see him stay, he's won awards thanks to a strong second half showing, and manager Sam Allardyce wants to see him stick around but is concerned about the financials.

While some Liverpool fans have worried the club's very public desire to shift the player on a permanent basis could weaken their position, it's become increasingly clear that West Ham are content being just as open about what they'd like to see happen next season for Carroll.

"We are talking to people close to Andy," admitted West Ham co-chairman David Gold. "He's our number one priority target [so] we would like to get everything agreed before the players return from the summer break. We don't want to go into pre-season training without him so we want to make it happen as quickly as possible."

Gold's statements follow close on the heels of fellow co-chairman David Sullivan, who only hours earlier spoke of his desire to keep hold of the towering frontman while highlighting Carroll's impact to West Ham's attacking play even when he isn't scoring goals as the key to his importance.

"We would love to keep him beyond this season and we will soon be sitting down with Andy and Liverpool to make some progress on that front," said Sullivan. "His game is about so much more than just scoring goals. He is so often the focal point of everything good we do going forward."

Liverpool's clear desire to shift Carroll over the past year may have put them at a disadvantage, but any advantage West Ham might have had heading into negotiations has quickly been forfeited by a string of public statements concerning their desire to keep hold of him by fellow players, the manager, and now the club's chairmen.

Hopefully for all involved, Gold and Sullivan get their wish and a deal can be agreed that satisfies the player and both clubs before the start of pre-season. Given how long the Carroll saga already seems to have rumbled on, though, few would be surprised if his fate is still up in their air when the 2013-14 campaign kicks off in August.

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