Rumours suggesting Andy Carroll will refuse any contract offered by West Ham in the hopes of returning north have begun to gather strength, with either Liverpool or boyhood club Newcastle believed to be the only destinations he will accept this summer. If true, this sets up something of a game of chicken between Carroll and Liverpool, with the club having made it clear he isn't in their plans and the player needing minutes to stay in the England picture ahead of Brazil 2014.
With Newcastle fading as a likely destination for Carroll after West Ham's £15M bid for the player proved too pricey for the Magpies to consider matching, it would seem to mean that the seemingly never ending Andy Carroll saga is destined to rumble on for at least a few more months. Carroll, it seems, has made it clear he will only consider playing for Liverpool or Newcastle; Liverpool have told him he won't play for Liverpool and that they'll only sell him for £15M; and Newcastle have said they won't buy him at £15M.
Now, the question is who blinks first—or if nobody does and Carroll forfeits the chance to represent England at the World Cup in favour of sitting in the stands most weeks for a Liverpool side that will likely not even have room for him on the bench much of the time, especially without any European commitments to clutter the schedule.
Elsewhere in outgoing rumour mongering, Jonjo Shelvey has been linked with a move south to West Ham, who apparently have decided that if they can't have one Liverpool player they'll at least end up with some Liverpool player. He's joined in that club by Jay Spearing, who after a successful season on loan with Bolton in the Championship is rumoured to be on the radar for both West Ham and Newcastle, while a full time stay with the Wanderers remains at least a more likely possibility than a return to Liverpool.
If Shelvey or Spearing were to be moved on permanently this summer, rumours have them fetching anywhere between £3-5M apiece. If Liverpool can't find a buyer willing to spend what they feel either player is worth, though, a year on loan would be the most likely result, with Blackpool once again interested in hosting Shelvey after a successful spell in 2011 saw him score six goals in ten appearances for the Championship club.
Moving on to potential incomings, following the signing of Kolo Toure, Kyriakos Papadopoulos continues to appear the club's primary target. And in Germany, Borussia Dortmund have now signed centre back Sokratis Papastathopoulos to replace Felipe Santana—who has in turn finalised his move to Schalke—opening the door for Schalke to sell Papadopoulos in the coming weeks. Rumours linking Liverpool to young defenders Toby Alderweireld and Thiago Ilori also continue to swirl. The arrival of either alongside Toure and Papadopoulos would likely signal the end for both Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates at the club.
Further up the pitch, Liverpool has begun to be linked to rumoured Arsenal target Clement Grenier. The 22-year-old Lyon academy product was integral to the French side's attack last season from an advanced midfield position, and Arsene Wenger has dubbed the youngster the next Samir Nasri. If Grenier does end up leaving this summer, it will be against the stated wishes of Lyon, who despite mounting debt appear intent on holding on to him—or who at least want to drive his pricetag into double figures. If he were to arrive at Liverpool, it would likely leave little room for Jonjo Shelvey in attacking midfield.
Meanwhile, Slovak and Genoa midfielder Juraj Kucka has learned he has been linked to Liverpool because he "read it on the internet." Though he appears flattered by this rumoured interest, one might expect he would have heard something from his agent if he actually was the subject of Liverpool's interest.
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