Andy Carroll's time at Liverpool is generally something that those on Merseyside would rather forget.
His purchase as a part-replacement for Fernando Torres was one of the most expensive mistakes in their history, and having spent £35 million on him, they only recouped a little over £16 million upon his sale to West Ham.
However, that £16 million is beginning to look like a pretty good deal for the Reds, after the latest injury adding to the catalogue of ailments that have befallen Carroll since his transfer to West Ham.
Carroll suffered an ankle ligament injury during the pre-season tour to New Zealand and could be out for as long as four months, according to The Guardian, and therefore miss a large chunk of their early season.
Going under the knife tomorrow morning and absolutely devastated to be missing the start of the season!! pic.twitter.com/kTAYuF0YGB— Andy Carroll (@AndyTCarroll) July 24, 2014
Since joining West Ham, initially on loan in 2012, Carroll has made just 34 league starts and five substitute appearances over two seasons, meaning he has only been available for a little over half of their Premier League games since moving from Liverpool.
In those two years he has missed a month with a hamstring problem, around seven weeks with a knee injury, a little over three months with a heel bone problem and around four months with a broken foot.
Add the ankle ligament injury, and the most worrying thing for Sam Allardyce and West Ham is that the injuries are all different problems.
If Carroll continually suffered from the same injury, at least that could be focused on and managed to an extent, but that he keeps breaking down with a variety of ailments lends his career an element of unpredictability.
This leaves West Ham in an interesting predicament, although not quite the same as when Carroll broke down last year, shortly after the transfer window closed, leaving the Hammers with no senior centre-forward and forcing them to re-sign Carlton Cole.
Their striking options are now Enner Valencia—the Ecuadorian undoubtedly had a good World Cup, but the dangers of signing a player on a strong tournament performance are well-documented—and Mauro Zarate, who is clearly talented but is likely to infuriate as much as he helps the team.
Tthis provides a problem for Sam Allardyce, who has been told in no uncertain terms that a different style of football is expected of him this season. West Ham co-owner David Sullivan told talkSPORT this week:
We told the manager we want a more attacking form of football. But at the same time the manager has to pick the team. It's his decision what he does.
We’re more involved with the transfers this year because we think we haven’t spent our money well in the previous years and we hope we will spend it a bit better this summer. But we think what we’ve bought [this summer] is better value for money and at least we’ve got some more lottery tickets that could turn into jackpots...
There were games last season where I had tears in my eyes. It just wasn’t good enough.
The question for West Ham and Allardyce is now whether they can afford to make any plans at all with their ailing striker.
He may have cost them a lot of money and is only one year into a five-year contract, but his fitness problems mean he simply can't be relied upon.
While they might be forced to take a significant financial hit on an investment made only a year ago—and they won't be able to do anything until this latest injury problem clears up—the prudent thing for the Hammers to do is cut their losses on Carroll as soon as they can.