Andy Carroll must focus on restoring his status as a talented young striker with upside. It's a reputation that faded during his brief Liverpool stint, so although West Ham United might not be his first-choice club, it's the best place for him right now.
West Ham agreed with Liverpool on a £15 million deal that would make Carroll's loan at Upton Park become permanent, and now the Reds are hoping for a quick answer from the striker, according to Andy Hunter of The Guardian.
The report states Carroll remains unsure about committing to a full-time stay with the Irons. He still prefers making a return impact with Liverpool or going back to where he initially skyrocketed to prominence, Newcastle United, but those options are fading.
Reds manager Brendan Rodgers said he already talked with Carroll about the situation and will continue to do so moving forward until a resolution is found:
It's a difficult one. I spoke to him and we had a good chat. The boy is a talent. It's just something we need to assess between now and the end of window. In terms of the money, that's something out of my control. But he's a talent so we will assess the whole situation. The objective at the beginning of the season was for him to go out and play. He's gone away to think of what we spoke about and we will talk again through the weeks.
Even though Carroll might want to mull his options before accepting the move, the England international needs to understand he's not in a position of great power right now. The fact Liverpool is so willing to sell him illustrates that.
His stock has fallen considerably since he netted 30 goals over his final season and a half with Newcastle. He parlayed that into a marquee move to Anfield. He's struggled to match the hype and expectations ever since.
With the Reds and Irons both trying to plan their summer transfer approaches, he will probably feel the pressure from both sides to decide his future sooner rather than later.
That's why his best option is accepting the permanent switch to West Ham. He can then focus completely on returning to full strength after a heel injury and then hope to reestablish himself as a coveted Premier League striker next season.
What should Carroll do?
While Carroll might be thinking about the short-term concerns of staying at Upton Park, he should be thinking about his long-term future. If he can revitalize his career during a longer stay with West Ham, it will open up more opportunities moving forward.
There were signs of progress near the end of the campaign. He netted four goals over his last eight appearances, frequently flashing the form that helped him become a valuable asset. He needs more of that in order to restore his prior status.
West Ham, where he should receive consistent playing time while staying in the Premier League, is the safest bet. It's the best chance for him to show the Liverpool struggles were only a minor setback.
Liverpool and West Ham eagerly await his decision.