Despite losing to runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea at the London Stadium, Monday did bring some positives for West Ham fans.
Having been out for the last two fixtures for Slaven Bilic’s side, the Hammers welcomed back striker Andy Carroll to the fold, after his recovery from a groin issue.
The former Liverpool and Newcastle striker had been in fine form for the east Londoners since the turn of the year, however, after being hauled off at both Southampton and Middlesbrough due to concerns over a niggle in his groin, he was forced to sit out the draws with West Brom and Watford.
The nine-England international, who had been mooted for a return to the national fold before his lay-off, had bagged four goals in as many games in the New Year before missing those two fixtures and Bilic could have done with his help.
The Hammers put in some impressive showings against both Tony Pulis’ and Walter Mazzarri’s sides, however, failed to put away many of their chances, something which Carroll may have changed.
As well as his injury issues, February also brought other complications around the future of the 28-year-old. With the Chinese Super League’s transfer market closing at the end of February, rumours continued to pile up of interest from the east in the Geordie, whilst some even claimed the club were looking to engineer his exit, something which has been denied by Bilic.
However, those reports have got many thinking that selling their towering talisman, which not too long ago would have seemed a cardinal sin in Stratford, may actually be a good idea.
Whilst the winter window of this campaign was not the ideal time, with Simone Zaza having left after his failed loan move and fellow summer signing’s Jonathan Calleri and Andre Ayew only beginning to come into the first team fold, this summer may well present the ideal opportunity.
Should the powers that be within the London Stadium be able to find an adequate replacement, which despite their recent form shoudln’t be too hard, there is no strong argument to be keeping Carroll.
The forward is currently taking home a whopping £130,000-a-week which equates to nearly £5m over a Premier League campaign (38 weeks).
With Carroll’s woeful injury record, there is no chance he will be playing every game of a league season and, going on this term’s current return of 13 Premier League appearances, if he were to feature in every league outing between now and the close of the season, Carroll will have pocketed just north of £200,000 per league appearance this season. Value for money does not spring to mind.
Therefore, should the club be able to find the right suitor, willing to pay a decent price, a move to replace the Englishman this summer could be perfect timing.