WEST Ham have edged closer to signing Andy Carroll – but Newcastle United could yet make a late move for the striker.
The Upton Park club yesterday agreed a £15m fee with Liverpool for the 24-year-old.
However, Newcastle are understood to have inserted a 25 per cent sell-on clause into the £35m deal that took Carroll to Anfield in January 2011.
And that could yet prove crucial should the club choose to make a move for the England international, who has spent the past season on loan at Upton Park after being deemed surplus to requirements by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
To match West Ham’s offer, United would technically only have to table a bid of £11.25m.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew – who last week admitted he would be interested in signing Carroll this summer “should he become available” – is involved in a two-day meeting with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias this week.
Ashley is conducting a thorough inquest into United’s disappointing Premier League season.
Pardew, hopeful he will keep his job, is confident they can a agree a plan to take the club forward next season, with the 51-year-old believing his squad, with the addition of “two or three” players, could again challenge for a top-six place.
With Demba Ba – who left Newcastle for Chelsea in January – having not been replaced, the club’s summer priority is a striker, though finding a replacement for captain and defensive lynchpin Fabricio Coloccini, should he leave, would be a huge challenge.
With the discussions also encompassing the club’s transfer plans, it would be inconceivable that Carroll’s name was not mentioned.
Carroll, meanwhile, is considering West Ham’s offer.
The Gateshead-born player – who came up through the ranks at St James’s Park – could wait until United’s position becomes clearer before making a decision on his future, which seems certain to lie away from Liverpool.
With next season leading up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it’s potentially a huge campaign for Carroll, who is keen to become a regular under England coach Roy Hodgson.
To do that, he needs to be playing week in, week out, and Carroll, clearly, doesn’t fit into Rodgers’s plans.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of being here,” Carroll told West Ham’s official website.
“I’ve just tried to play my best in every match, score goals and keep myself fit once I got back from the injuries I had, and then push on from there.
“I’ve worked hard to get myself back in the England squad, trying to play my best for West Ham, so I’m really pleased about that.
“I just have to make sure I keep playing well to stay in there.
“I have had a great season here at West Ham. Everyone has been so welcoming to me, and I have been over the moon to be here. This is a great club.”
Former Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan, now captain of West Ham, is also hopeful that his close friend will commit his long-term future to the east London club.
The pair forged a close bond during their time together at St James’s Park.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce also worked with Carroll during his brief spell in charge at St James’s Park.
Meanwhile, Carroll was last night ruled out of England’s two forthcoming friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil with a heel injury.