Liverpool’s signing of £35m Carroll is statement of intent
His price tag was hugely inflated but move shows commitment from owners, writes Michael Owen
“When we spend a dollar it has to be wisely,” Liverpool owner John Henry said following Fenway Sports Group’s takeover of the Merseyside outfit in October.
So quite what Henry and his partners at FSG were thinking when they sanctioned the £35m signing of Newcastle United’s Andy Carroll is unclear, given their clear focus on value when taking the reigns at Anfield.
Carroll is a very good player – the Newcastle supporters’ dismayed reaction to his departure is testament to that.
He has scored 11 league goals so far this season despite having been sidelined for a month and only Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez -who both commanded similarly extravagant fees -have found the net more times this term.
But his Premier League experience is limited and for such a fee supporters may have expected someone with a considerably larger amount of both games and goals under his belt at the highest level.
The Gateshead native also has a reputation as somewhat of a party animal. Over the course of the last two years Carroll has graced the front pages of local newspapers nearly as often as he has featured on the back.
His love for Newcastle’s nightlife and his disputes with a former partner have ensured that, at the age of 22, he has been involved in as many controversies as other professionals may face in their whole career.
But Carroll is only 22. At Liverpool he will have the support of Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher – all of whom will steer the striker in the right direction, putting an end to his boozy reputation and schooling him in the Liverpool way of doing things originally set out by Bill Shankly – a man who demanded professionalism.
FSG has shown a statement of intent by spending so much on someone so young. But in youth they see value and should Carroll continue to improve with Premier League experience -and that’s a big if -then the £35m gamble will have paid off.
It is impossible to argue that Carroll’s transfer fee wasn’t incredibly inflated, something not helped by Liverpool’s need for a striker and the time restrictions of the transfer window.
But going into the rest of the season with just Luis SuÃƒÂ¡rez, who was signed for just under £23m, could affected Liverpool’s bid for European football – not to mention their ability to attract quality players in the summer.
By signing Carroll and SuÃƒÂ¡rez John Henry and the rest of FSG have shown just how committed they are to making Liverpool Football Club successful again.
And after three-and-a-half years under the debt ridden reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett that is exactly what was required of the Boston-based businessmen.