ALAN Pardew admits he would take £35million man Andy Carroll back to Newcastle United if he had the chance.
United travel to Anfield tomorrow night with the 6ft 3ins frame of Gateshead-born Carroll casting a long shadow over proceedings.
The striker has failed to settle at Liverpool since making his controversial move from St James’ Park at the turn of the year – but Pardew has taken no joy in his struggles and has little time for suggestions Newcastle are in better shape for his departure.
He says he would have Carroll back on Tyneside tomorrow if Liverpool were willing to sell at the right price. While not suggesting that will happen in January – Pardew has ruled out a striker joining next month – it is a clear indication of how seriously the United boss is taking the threat of Carroll.
He said: “You never want to lose great players and we never wanted to lose him. I would take him back if I had the chance. If the fee was not as high as it was, then he would still be here.
“It was a decision, as a football manager, which was a very difficult one for me.
“I was 60-40 for keeping him, but for the finances of the club there was a strong opinion upstairs.
“They are my employers. We all looked each other in the eye and said it was going to have to happen.”
While Carroll’s problems are of little concern to Newcastle supporters now, there is a certain tinge of sadness for some that a player so closely linked with the club and the city is not fulfilling his undoubted potential. Dropped from the England team and out of favour at Liverpool, Carroll’s career is drifting.
Pardew and the hordes of United fans hoping to leapfrog Liverpool will be desperate for him to turn in another poor display tomorrow night but, after that, the Newcastle boss can see him prospering.
Pardew added: “He is a young player and all young players need confidence – strikers particularly. Sometimes you need to stay with them.
“He had games here when he was not brilliant over the course of the season but he was a very important player to this club. The best years for Andy are still ahead of him.
“Going into the European Championships with England, I don't know many teams who would like to see Andy Carroll on the England team-sheet, but he has to play himself into the squad.
“It is fair to say he has not done that. He needs opportunities and a platform to do that also. Maybe with Suarez’s suspension that will be his opportunity.”
Delighted United checked a run of poor results with a crucial victory at Bolton on Monday, Pardew is nonetheless aware the January transfer window is looming. He cannot rule out Newcastle parting with one of their crown jewels if an unbeatable offer comes in, but he is almost certain the club will not be bringing in a striker after the collapse of Modibo Maiga’s move from Sochaux.
There is no chance of resuscitating that deal – just as there is little hope of bringing in Montpellier’s Olivier Giroud after the French club’s owner Louis Nicollin said Newcastle were “too small” for the forward.
Pardew added: “You have to pay over the odds in this window if you want to invest, but we will not be in terms of a striker.
“We are looking at maybe bringing in a defender.
“Our options are open on a defender and you cannot shut the door on any market in this football world. “ Pardew is also resigned to the fact clubs may look to disrupt United during January – just as Liverpool did with their late, successful bid for Carroll.
He said: “As much as you can say you do not want last-minute business, you are still vulnerable to a sovereign state coming in and giving you an oil well. I am never going to say never.
“The point we are saying is if you are wanting to business with us then give us a chance. That does not mean they will do that.
“They will think they can gain a better deal at the last minute. So you are just vulnerable to this window. Every Premier League manager is, apart from Roberto Mancini.”