Unless you've been on Mars for a few days, you will have heard that we have declared firm interest in re-signing our former number nine - Andy Carroll. This has split fans opinions on Twitter, Facebook, phone ins - every forum for opinion has been inundated.
The local paper polled opinion on whether the fans would like to see big Andy plying his trade on Tyneside once again - 67% voted in the positive. My thoughts? If the price is right (Â£15 million maximum) I would have him back straight away.
I know that Carroll was reluctant to move - an employer basically tells you that theyâ€™ve received an offer that they can't really afford to turn down and they strongly suggest you go. That's a strong message. The potential new employer then tells you that they will happily more than double your wages. It's a no brainer.
There were a lot of people adamant that in Carroll's position, knowing full well that they never would be, they would have flat out refused to move. I doubt that very much - unwanted at place A, very much wanted and about Â£2 million-per-year richer at place B?..... And as Carroll told a mutual friend - you can only spend so much money. There were unusual aspects to the deal too with Carroll's agent being changed at the last minute.
At the time I, like thousands of others, was furious. I wasn't angry at Andy but at the club for selling him so late that the best we could do in the interim was to recruit Kuqi on a free. That is part of the problem with being a football fan - your heart more often than not rules your head and long term consideration rarely features.
19 months on and we have used the Carroll money to recruit class footballers - Cisse, Ba, Cabaye, Santon - Andy Carroll and Kenny Dalglish have helped us to rebuild and the outcome saw us finish three places above the Anfield club in the league table. If the Carroll deal goes through we will have reinvested the Â£35,000,000 from the Carroll sale on the players that I named above AND Andy Carroll - that is absolutely phenomenal (I took that idea from a Twitter user, but unfortunately I can't remember who originally posted it and it has been retweeted so many times since - a tip of the hat to whoever you are!)
A lot of concerns have been aired in terms of playing style. I don't agree at all. Not only is Carroll a far better player with the ball at his feet than some people are giving him credit for, we won't have to adapt our style. Last season we mixed and matched our style of football depending on the opponent and the venue - like all good Premier League teams (apart from maybe Arsenal) do. The direct ball is frequently utilised by Pardew - but it is usually Shola on the end of it. Give me Carroll in his place any day. Carroll can play both types of football and his defensive attributes should never be underestimated.
I've watched Carroll playing for Liverpool and there is one obvious difference between now and his days up here - his absolute determination. Don't get me wrong, it's not that he's not trying now, it's just that he looks less keen on throwing his head in. He was an absolute warrior for us and that was one of the things that excited me most about going to St James' Park. He put his heart and soul into games when wearing a black and white shirt, just ask Chris Morgan.
Of course, it's not all rosy. There are still off-field concerns surrounding Carroll. He hasn't been arrested in a while but pictures have circulated of Carroll appearing to be absolutely hammered in a bar, whilst at Liverpool. There's the Steven Taylor factor too, but they are now on speaking terms and the fact that the players and even more tellingly, the club 'went easy' on Carroll after that nasty incident says a lot.
And then there was his dive at St James' last season.......
All in all though, I would definitely bring him back.
Do I think it will happen? No. Rodgers has handled this affair abysmally, highlighting his lack of top level management skills. Carroll could make life difficult for him in terms of refusing to move anywhere else. West Ham declared an interest but they've just signed Maiga so that probably rules them out. The thing that will stop the deal going through is pride. Pride on behalf of the Liverpool owners. They look ridiculous having shelled out an all time record transfer fee for a British player. They'll look even more ridiculous if they sell him back to the club from which he came at a Â£20 million loss.