Andy Carroll is gone. There are a lot of moving parts to this story, but the bottom line is that our #9 is out. That hurts.
The story is, of course, more complicated than that, but for now I need to mourn. I loved Andy Carroll. He had (has) his problems, but I could endure the taunts of other supporters if it meant that goals were being scored, and with AC09, they definitely were. He's young, talented, a presence in the box that other teams HAVE to account for, the hope for England, and he was ours. Not anymore.
There is a bright side, however. (See how quickly I transition into the bargaining stage?) £35 million is a lot of scratch. It's more than Aston Villa paid for Darren Bent, which is mind-boggling. It's hard for me to imagine Fat Mike Ashley not pocketing a large portion of that money and pouring it into Sports Direct, but I'm very cynical when it comes to Ashley. Perhaps he'll turn around and bring in a world-class player. Or two.
That probably won't happen today, which makes me worry about the immediate future. We've said all along that Survival is the only goal of this season, and sitting in 9th place on January 31st it's easy to see the R-word as an impossibility. My nervousness about it will never go away until we've clinched at least 17th place, however, and that journey is far from over.
It's not that the club doesn't know how to move on with Andy, though. He hasn't played since December 28th due to a thigh tear (which makes me wonder why Liverpool are even bothering with a medical), and Newcastle hasn't fallen off into the ocean as a result. The optimist says that the club hasn't lost in the last 4 games; the pessimist says that in 3 of them they've only scored 1 goal.
I do worry about the current strike force. Alan Pardew can't seem to decide which 2 of Shola Ameobi, Nile Ranger, Peter Lovenkrands, or Leon Best should be starting. None of them are even close to being considered a dominant force in the Premiership. So who to bring in? The latest rumors appear to feature Johan Elmander, Carlton Cole, and Peter Crouch. See above note on dominant forces, etc.
Whatever Newcastle does to replace Andy Carroll, I'll continue to be sad that he's gone. Before the deal went down, there was a report that he had turned in a transfer request. Did that really happen? I'm inclined to believe that FMA and Derek Llambias asked him to do it so that they could claim to their supporters that their hands were tied. Even if he did ask out on his own accord, I don't think it's appropriate to label Carroll a "Judas." (That's probably the nicest word I've seen thrown his way by the Toon Army since the news came across.) His wages jumped from £30K/week to £80K/week. I hate the big clubs who money-whip players as much as, if not more than, the next guy, but you can't blame a player for taking such a significant pay raise. Besides, I hear he gets to play with Charlie Adam now...