ALAN Pardew is still interested in bringing Andy Carroll back to Newcatle United – and he believes the England striker yearns for a return “home”.
United were involved in negotiations with Liverpool over the summer about a possible loan move but their ambitious bid was dashed by a combination of factors, not least the fact the Anfield hierarchy had little interest in doing business with the club they paid £35million to secure his services a little over a year before.
Carroll (right) subsequently joined close friend Kevin Nolan at Sam Allardyce’s West Ham – the Magpies’ opponents tomorrow in a game that brings back three major figures in Newcastle’s recent past back to the North East.
Despite that disappointment Pardew says he would still “bring him back in a shot”, and has suggested that the prospect of the striker returning to Newcastle is still a live one.
Carroll’s deal with West Ham is until the end of the season and while the Hammers have the option to buy him for the price of £17million, there is a clause that would see any potential transfer collapse if the Gateshead-born striker opted to move elsewhere.
United baulked at the prospect of paying such a large price for the forward in the summer but the interest in him, clearly, remains and Pardew is not writing off the prospect of Carroll’s return happening during his time at St James’.
“He’s a Geordie and I think he misses the city, this is his home and at some point I hope he does come back here,” he said. “Whether that’s in my time I don’t know. I like him, I like working with him and he was brilliant for me.”
The prospect of the Academy graduate returning to the North East will undoubtedly prompt mixed emotions among United fans, who gave him a torrid welcome on his return with Liverpool last year.
Carroll has told the West Ham website that he anticipates the same again this year, and does not hold it against Newcastle’s supporters – who, for the most part, delighted in his failings last year.
The striker failed to score and was caught up in a diving row with Tim Krul after he appeared to go to ground too easily for the Dutch goalkeeper’s liking.
Pardew had words with him at the time but says there are no ill feelings, and he clearly still rates the forward.
Carroll’s career has fluctuated since leaving Newcastle and he is yet to register for West Ham despite a string of performances that suggest he is coming back to his best form.
“I’ve always stuck up for him and I still think he has a role for England,” Pardew said.
“As a number 9 there are times and periods in international games where an England number 9 can still be a massive threat.
“People keep talking about the modern game, a loose number 9, the way Spain and Barcelona play, but there is still a place at the highest possible level for a player of Andy’s qualities. He’s one of the best number 9s out there.”
Asked about the deal that was on the table this summer, Pardew insists that Newcastle were serious about trying to lure the striker back to Tyneside.
“Yes, I thought there was a possibility of it,” the managed admitted.
“We were in there because he brings something different to the table to what we have got and we could probably do with another striker. We were right in there, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get it done at board level.”
Pardew carried out a quick assessment of his squad yesterday after they returned from their Belgian assignment and is likely to ring the changes once more.
But Vurnon Anita will continue at right-back, with Pardew considering the return of the 4-3-3 formation and a return for Demba Ba, formerly of West Ham.