West Ham's Andy Carroll
Jack Sullivan, son of Hammers co-owner David, confirmed rumours doing the rounds on social media this week that Carroll has picked up an injury and will miss around two weeks of key pre-season training.
The injury will also likely rule Carroll out of West Ham's crucial two-legged Europa League third qualifying round clash with either Belarus side Shaktyor Soligorsk or Slovenian minnows Domzale on July 28th and August 4th.
It's a headscratcher for West Ham's manager Slaven Bilic
Bilic faces striker predicament
It leaves Bilic in a real predicament having so far failed to land any of his prime striker targets after bids for Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette and Carlos Bacca proved fruitless.
Add in the fact both Enner Valencia and the rebellious Diafra Sakho look likely to be moved on with Lazio and Swansea pursuing the Ecaudorian and Sunderland chasing wantaway Sakho and it is difficult to see where West Ham's goals are going to come from.
The Hammers were dumped out of last year's competition by minnows FC Astra in the same round they enter it this time out so cannot afford to take anything for granted.
West Ham's Andy Carroll in action
Carroll popular but a costly luxury
No-one is doubting the target man's work ethic. But it is a story West Ham fans have heard all too often before.
When Carroll was signed on loan from Anfield by Sam Allardyce in 2012, it seemed a match made in heaven. The club even inexplicably wasted more than £10million 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 in 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.
West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold
The benefit of hindsight
Nevertheless the Hammers were unperturbed and pressed ahead with sanctioning an £18 million permanent deal on a six-year contract. 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, as reported by BBC's Football Focus.
Three seasons on, and four long-term injuries later, Carroll has become little more than an expensive bonus for West Ham. He always gives 100% and even told the London Evening Standard last season that he blames his full-blooded approach for the injuries he has suffered.
West Ham's And Carroll applauds the fans
Injury record and goal ratio do not make great reading
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 three seasons since making his move to Upton Park permanent, Carroll has made just 56 appearances, scoring 16 goals.
The Hammers are taking the Europa League seriously this season and without him it makes qualifying that bit more difficult, even if the East Londoners should have enough quality to advance without him.
Many West Ham fans have started to give up on the club's most expensive ever signing and Bilic clearly recognises the need to bring in more firepower.
If the Hammers are to better their seventh place finish this season they simply cannot afford to rely on Carroll week in week out.