Why Newcastle-linked striker Andy Carroll would be no great loss to West Ham

West Ham United's most expensive ever player Andy Carroll has been linked with a return home to Newcastle United, but his departure would be no great loss.

The likes of the Mirror have reported that Andy Carroll's first club Newcastle are seriously weighing up a move for their former player.

And that should be music to the East Londoners' ears because the Hammers simply cannot rely on their injury-prone record £18 million signing anymore.

With every injury - and generally there is a long-term one every season for the 26-year-old -  his value rapidly decreases.

No-one is doubting the target man's work ethic. But after just 46 appearances in three years at West Ham, much like the man who brought him to the club Sam Allardyce, the relationship has reached a natural conclusion.

When Carroll was signed on loan from Anfield by Big Sam in 2012, it seemed a match made in heaven. The club even inexplicably wasted more than £10 million on flop Matt Jarvis to provide the ammunition for the 6ft 4 star.

Here was a player who cost Liverpool a record £35 million just the year before leading the attack at the Boleyn. Things could not have started much better for the big Geordie as he set up two goals during a towering display in 3–0 home win against Fulham.

But a lengthy injury, two words that have cast a shadow over the 26-year-old's career so far, restricted him to just 24 appearances and seven goals that season.

He made a long-awaited comeback during the following February and scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Swansea. But in the last game of that season at home to Reading, he was injured yet again.

Nevertheless the Hammers were unperturbed and pressed ahead with sanctioning the biggest transfer in their history and gave him a six-year contract despite his well documented injury problems.

It is a deal which outspoken West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has since admitted he wouldn't have done with the benefit of hindsight.

Two years on, and four long-term injuries later, Carroll has become little more than an expensive bonus for West Ham.

When he is fit and firing there are not many better all-round forwards in the Premier League. But that is half the problem - he very rarely is.

In the two years since making his move to Upton Park permanent, Carroll has made just 27 appearances, scoring seven goals.

With Slaven Bilic in place now many West Ham fans have started looking to a future without Carroll despite being split over the striker in a HITC poll last month.

The truth is, Bilic will be under the microscope next season, over his style of football more than anything given most West Ham fans' disdain for the tactics employed by their former boss.

And the former Besiktas manager simply cannot afford to rely on Carroll's availability, let alone shape a team or squad around him.

If Newcastle's interest is genuine the Hammers could do a lot worse than recoup some good money for him now and ignore any paranoid thoughts of 'what if he stays fit?' because it is one big 'if'.

The England man may still be relatively young but there is nothing to suggest his injury woes are going to go away anytime soon.

And given his hefty weekly wage at the Hammers, Bilic - like Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool before him - could decide it is money much better spent elsewhere.

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