Alan Pardew has fuelled speculation that Andy Carroll could be set to return to Newcastle United in the near future.
The Magpies boss spoke of his admiration for the target-man at a press-conference yesterday and it has only increased the rumours that Carroll could come back to St. James' Park.
The England international has found his future at West Ham United doubted because of the club's improvements in attacking positions and Pardew seems intent on taking advantage of this uncertainty.
“I think he would (want to come back to Newcastle in the future), and I hope he does come back to his home town,” Pardew is quoted as saying in the Sunderland Echo.
“He has got that love here. I really enjoyed working with Andy. I think he’s a terrific player."
“I know we get linked with him every two weeks, which is always probably going to happen whether it’s me or another manager."
“So I’m not going to hide from the fact that I like him. I think he’s a good player."
Carroll made his name at Newcastle before a mega-money move to Liverpool back in 2011, but the North East side should not go for a reunion with the front-man.
Since his move to Anfield, Carroll hasn't looked the same destructive force and has struggled for goals and fitness.
The powerful centre-forward has scored just two goals in 17 games since joining West Ham on a permanent transfer in 2013.
The 25-year-old has also spent more time on the treatment table than on the pitch since joining the Hammers and there are concerns over his persistent injury struggles.
Added to this, Newcastle appear to have moved on without him and Pardew risks changing a successful formula by bringing in Carroll.
The side have adopted a counter-attacking strategy, which has delivered them six wins in a row, and Carroll simply doesn't fit in with this style.
Newcastle's major attacking weapon is their pace in forward positions and having a target-man in the team would detract from this quality.
Although Carroll offers them a target to hit in the box, he would struggle to excel in a team playing the brand of football Newcastle currently are and is too expensive to offer a 'plan-b' alternative.
If Carroll was to return to Tyneside he would be expecting to be a first-choice, but Ayoze Perez looks to be a superior option.
The Spaniard has scored more goals in his last four Premier League games than Carroll has in the past year and harming his playing chances would only appear an error from Pardew.
The Newcastle boss may be a fan of Carroll's style of play, but he should continue to admire him from afar rather than bringing him back to St. James' Park.