Less talented players have played for Liverpool football club, but the combination of the price they paid for Andy Carroll and the absolute zero production they got out of him during that time makes him their worst signing in history.
It’s been more than two years since the club shocked the footballing world by completing a midnight signing of Andy Carroll, a troubled, 22-year old striker who played only 37 Premier League games in his career up to that point, scoring 14 goals for Newcastle, for the shocking price of £35 million.
That made Carroll the most expensive British player in history, in a simply inexplicable price tag. Liverpool explained that they were prepared to spend £15 million less than what Fernando Torres was sold to Chelsea for £50 million; you do the match. The man in charge of transfers should have been fired that instant, but Carroll stayed, and so did the manager and football director who brought him.
What did Liverpool get from Carroll during his time with the club? A total of 58 matches and 11 goals. Carroll didn’t fit the system, as his footwork was awful. He was out of shape, injured, out and in the lineup, and simply doing and going through everything a professional footballer shouldn’t.
His numbers, on loan for West Ham last season? He played in 23 matches, all in the league, scoring 7 goals. He makes sense in Allardyce’s system of long balls and hardly any thought put into developing play. Carroll is fantastic in the air and has an underrated long range shot. For certain teams, he can be quite an asset. But not for Champions League-caliber clubs, what Liverpool intend to be, and not teams playing Brendan Rodgers kind of football.
If Liverpool would have paid £15 million for Carroll at the time, maybe a lot of things would have been avoided. A lot less pressure on him, and on the club. But mistakes were made in huge quantities over the last few years at Anfield, and selling him to West Ham is part of rectifying the situation.