35m Carroll completes shock move to Liverpool
NEWCASTLE'S frantic attempts to secure a replacement for Andy Carroll came to nothing last night, leaving the club alarmingly short of attacking firepower in the final four months of the season. Carroll completed a clubrecord £35m move to Liverpool shortly before the 11pm transfer deadline, signing a five-and-a-half year deal to end a day of hectic negotiations at St James' Park. The former Newcastle number nine expressed a desire to move to Anfield after Liverpool officials lodged a third offer for his services midway through the afternoon. The first two, one of £30m and a second of around £34m, were rejected, but Newcastle owner Mike Ashley opted to take Liverpool's money when a further call was made. Carroll's departure, as a direct replacement for Fernando Torres, who moved to Chelsea in a British record £50m move, immediately sparked a series of calls, in which Magpies chief executive Derek Llambias attempted to recruit a striker capable of filling the gap left by the England international. The employers of Peter Crouch, Carlton Cole, Johan Elmander and Nicklas Bendtner were all contacted, but none were willing to allow their player to leave so close to the transfer deadline. Bolton, who signed Daniel Sturridge on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season, are understood to have offered Elmander, who is out of contract in the summer, for around £10m. However, Newcastle officials decided that was too high a price to pay for the Sweden international. In the final hour of the window, an unexpected approach was made to Wigan about former Newcastle winger Charles N'Zogbia, but a suggested £10m bid was never realistic. Alan Pardew must negotiate the second half of the season with Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Leon Best and Nile Ranger as his only available strikers. St James' Park sources claim the Magpies manager reacted furiously to confirmation of Carroll's departure. Minutes after being formally unveiled as Chris Hughton's successor, Pardew claimed he had received a cast-iron guarantee that 22- year-old Carroll would not be sold during the January transfer window. He repeated his comments on a number of occasions last month, insisting I am going to say it one last time, he (Carroll) is not for sale as recently as January 16. Two-and-a-half years ago, Kevin Keegan resigned from his position as Newcastle boss after Mike Ashley sanctioned the sale of James Milner to Aston Villa against his wishes. There is no suggestion that Pardew is contemplating his own position, but the 49-yearold's authority has undoubtedly been undermined by yesterday's events. Carroll's reputation in the eyes of Newcastle supporters has also been tarnished, amid suggestions he submitted a formal transfer request in order to smooth his passage to Anfield. Had it been Tottenham who had a bid accepted yesterday, the striker would almost certainly have turned down the chance to move to White Hart Lane. When Liverpool came calling, however, Carroll reacted favourably to the offer of a move to Merseyside. The Gateshead-born forward made a total of 60 starts and 36 substitute appearances for the Magpies, scoring 33 senior goals. He was not a first-team regular at the start of last season, but forced his way into the starting line-up at an early stage of the campaign and claimed 17 goals as Newcastle won the Championship title. He scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa in the second game of this season, and scored 11 times before suffering a thigh injury in December's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham, his final outing in a Newcastle shirt. His £35m price tag breaks the Magpies' previous record transfer receipt, which was the £13.65m received from Real Madrid for Jonathan Woodgate in August 2004. It's an incredible amount of money for a guy that's scored 14 goals in the Premier League and had half a season there, said former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer. Albeit it he's done very well. If you're inside the football club, you can see why they've had to accept that. But it's only a good deal if Newcastle at the end of the season go out and spend £35-40m on bringing someone, or a couple of players, in to replace him. While Newcastle were unable to recruit a replacement for Carroll yesterday, they did complete one deadline-day signing when Stephen Ireland joined on loan from Aston Villa for the rest of the season. Even that was not straightforward, as problems with Ireland's medical almost resulted in the deal collapsing midway through the afternoon. However, further discussions led to the 24-yearold moving to the North- East, with the possibility of a more permanent switch in the summer. Stephen has shown over the past few seasons that he's a real top player so we're really pleased to have got him until the end of the season, said Pardew. He can create chances for others and score goals himself, and we think he can be a big factor for us in the second part of this season. I think Stephen feels he can deliver more than he's shown at Villa so far, so he's got a point to prove and I believe we can reap the benefits of that.
Related Newcastle United News