Reports that Liverpool would consider a bid of around £20 million for Andy Carroll raises several questions about the original fee and Mike Ashley's willingness to strike a deal for the England international. With Alan Pardew confirming his interest in signing the Gateshead born forward, he has also stressed that negotiations will only involve Ashley and the Liverpool board. It would appear that there much to discuss regarding finances and the losses to be incurred by Liverpool.
Having moved to Merseyside for £35 million only 18 months previously, Carroll is now resigned to having no future at Anfield, with manager Brendan Rodgers openly admitting that he will be adopting a passing game, which will not utilise the strengths of the Geordie striker. For Rodgers, this is a brave decision, just when it seemed that Carroll was beginning to show his true form for club and country.
By declaring that they will accept bids of approximately £20 million, this suggests that Rodgers is committing his new employers to making a £15 million loss on the player. More likely is the fact that Liverpool have yet to pay the full fee, and do not wish to pay any extra instalments.
Such a scenario would pose a problem for Ashley who prefers to work to a tight budget on transfers and has already given the go-ahead for defensive reinforcements during this transfer window. By being unwilling to pay any extra money for Dutch forward Luuk De Jong, it seems unlikely that he will sanction a £20 million payment for Carroll.
Unless, there are other issues at stake. Nowadays transfer negotiations appear to be very delicate affairs and there may be clauses within the original contract allowing for a re-sale should Carroll not justify the £35 million tag. Perhaps there are payments per appearances and other small print which ensures that Liverpool will not make a substantial loss should Carroll return to Tyneside.
There is also the Demba Ba release clause which refuses to go away. Ashley may yet cash in on this by including him within any Carroll deal as Liverpool have been strongly linked with the Senegalese striker during the summer.
It also been alleged that Carroll has expressed a desire for his future to be decided within the next week, just to end the increasing uncertainty. If both clubs respect the wishes of the England striker, the coming days may produce some intense bargaining at boardroom level with both Liverpool and Newcastle unwilling to lose face over any potential deal.