Liverpool Transfers: Why the Reds Should Keep Andy Carroll
Liverpool have completed the first signing of the Brendan Rodgers era with the purchase of former Roma forward Fabio Borini, according to ESPN. The clear out has also begun with Maxi Rodriguez following Dirk Kuyt and Fabio Aurelio out of the Anfield exit door.
The biggest player who could be next in line for the cull according to speculation is No. 9 and record-signing Andy Carroll, who has been linked with a move away on either a loan or permanent basis, according to BBC Sport. (h/t The Independent regarding the loan angle).
Carroll divides opinion somewhat amongst Liverpool supporters on whether he should stay or go, or even whether he would fit into Brendan Rodgers' tactical system.
Here are five reasons why Liverpool should stick with the front man.
Different Option in Attack
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Let's get the obvious one over with.
Regardless of who Liverpool sign, irrespective of the tactics the Reds employ, there will be nobody who offers the surprise change of approach that Andy Carroll can give them.
Even if Carroll adapts perfectly to the way Brendan Rodgers wants his centre forward to play, he will still present a great threat on goal to a sudden change of pace and a cross swung over to the back post.
Liverpool must, like any great team, retain the possibility to do the unexpected and offer a different route to goal, even without losing belief in their first choice method of passing through an opposition defence.
The Financial Aspect
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Back in January 2011, Damien Comolli was so convinced that Andy Carroll was the future of Liverpool's strike line that he shelled out £35 million of the £50 million recouped from the Fernando Torres sale to bring him to Anfield.
Only 18 months later, the Reds would be looking at taking perhaps a £20 million hit on that amount if they were to sell him outright.
Even on a part-exchange deal as has been mooted to bring Clint Dempsey to Liverpool, they would still be looking at only a £20-£22 million total value on the deal, leaving around £15 million lost.
That's not the kind of applied economics the club wants to see on too many of their signings.
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From March until the end of the season, and on into summer with England at Euro 2012, Andy Carroll showed a marked improvement in his performances.
Two late winning goals against Everton and Blackburn, as well as a consolation goal in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, showed an increase in end product from the striker, but it was his all-around contributions that were the most impressive changes.
Better link-up play, a more aggressive lead-from-the-front approach and more confidence in and around the penalty area, all made Andy Carroll look like the fearsome forward he was supposed to be.
If he were to carry that on and be able to form a good partnership with—for example—Fabio Borini and Luis Suarez on either side of him, Liverpool would be looking at a front three with real ability and goal threat.
Replacements and Gelling the Team
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Fabio Borini replaces Dirk Kuyt; Clint Dempsey is expected to replace Maxi Rodriguez.
Those are two of Liverpool's forward options already new to the team.
Should Andy Carroll leave, Liverpool will have to replace him, too. According to The Liverpool Echo, Craig Bellamy is also rumoured to be considering leaving to go back to Cardiff City, though, that seems a needless step down for the Welshman at this stage.
Brendan Rodgers is already having to mastermind implementing a new tactical shape and philosophy to his players; having to bring in at least four new attackers at the same time is going to make an already difficult job much harder.
Not to mention, there will be the fees required to upgrade on players already in the squad, when the players are leaving on cut-price or free transfer deals.
The one saving grace, so far, has been that those who have left, Kuyt and Maxi, were on rather inflated wages, while those replacing them are (seemingly) on lower, more sustainable salaries.
Age and Capacity to Adapt
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Andy Carroll's commitment and effort in training has been called into question previously, and if it remains anything less than 100 percent, then no Liverpool supporter would have sympathy with the forward or reservations about showing him the door.
But Carroll himself last season stated that he was working much harder, and that his end-of-season impressive form was in part down to that.
Rodgers is an astute and tactical, but more importantly, hands-on coach, and he should relish the challenge of getting one of potentially the most dangerous strikers in the league up to the correct level of performance on a regular basis.
At 23 years of age, Carroll is still young enough to take on board the right coaching to make him a better player, particularly with regards to his off-the-ball movement.
If Rodgers has such severe doubts about Carroll's ability to perform over the long term and already has in mind the players he wants, then—providing Liverpool get an acceptable offer—it's understandable if the manager wants to cash in, cut the club's losses and move on.
With Liverpool rebuilding, it makes sense to try and do as much of the necessary culling in "Year Zero," rather than hoping for better and delaying the inevitable, especially if he has no intentions of making Carroll a regular starter.
But the former Newcastle striker still has a great chance of becoming a very, very good forward for club and country—and Liverpool should take any opportunity they have to help him on his way while he remains at the club, and in so doing, reap the rewards for themselves.