Andy Carroll is now a Red. It's still kind of hard for me to believe. Just 48 hours ago, I was hopeful that Carroll would be fit for the Blackburn game in 2 weeks. Now, I'm just wondering if there are any decent strikers out there available on a free. So how did we get to this point?
There are conflicting reports out there today, as can be expected given the way the news came across on Monday. Newcastle rejected a bid from Tottenham Hotspur, then a higher one from Liverpool, which seemed to reiterate their stated stance that Carroll was not for sale at any price. Once the club received an even higher bid, Andy turned in a written transfer request, and before long, he was on his way to Merseyside for a medical.
If that sounds fishy to you, you're not the only one. Why would the player ask out as soon as the club received the offer they couldn't refuse? It sure seems like the club brass, wanting to save face with the fan base, asked him to put that request in, and that's essentially what Carroll claimed today:
[Managing director] Derek [Llambias] asked me to hand in a transfer request, so I was pushed into a corner and had no choice. I wasn't wanted by them and they made it clear they wanted the money.
Alan Pardew, of course, had a different story, saying that Newcastle accepted the deal because Carroll was trying to leverage the attention into a new contract:
What can I say? We didn't force anybody to leave. I disagree with that point. He had a contract here for five years, and at some point it would get renewed, but for him to sign in October and it get renewed in January - where would it stop?
Basically, this has devolved into a he-said, he-said argument where both sides are courting the approval of the fans, or more accurately, trying to avoid their wrath. None of this, as Pardew himself points out, has anything to do with football.
In any case, there are rooting interests at stake, and in my opinion, Andy Carroll has way more to lose on this than Pardew, Mike Ashley, or Derek Llambias do. We're all still upset that Chris Hughton was left out in the cold, but it didn't take long for all of the protests to stop. On the other hand, Carroll will never catch a break from the Toon Army if they ultimately view his departure as a betrayal (and many already do).
So who do you believe? Was Andy Carroll pressured into handing in a request so that management could save face? Or was he simply looking for an excuse to jump ship?