He might have netted the winner against his old club Liverpool on Saturday (January 2) but it will be the shop window, not the penalty box, where striker Andy Carroll makes most impact this month.
The tall West Ham Utd striker has been dogged by long-running injuries since he joined the Irons in 2013, failing to reproduce the goal-scoring prowess that kept him on the fringes of the England team.
The record £15million signing is on £90,000 a week and manager Slaven Bilic has been told to trim the wage bill if he wants to improve the squad during the transfer window.
Carroll may return to the north east if managers there are looking to pull away from the relegation zone. Newcastle are the most comfortable fit but Sam Allardyce might use his personal links to bring him to the Stadium of Light, incurring the wrath of the near neighbours.
It was Allardyce who persuaded chairman David Sullivan to bring Carroll down south ahead of a rival move for £8million Wilfried Bony.
Carroll has scored twice now in two matches but he appears to be Plan B for Slaven Bilic who is looking more towards the intelligent swiftness of players like Dimitri Payet rather than the traditional England centre-forward style.
It has worked during a testing spell of injuries but that has required Bilic to build the team around Carroll rather than using the playmakers that were so effective at the start of the season.
Fans will be split on any sale. Carroll always gives his best and is never short of heart but he hasn’t been around on the pitch enough to become a firm favourite. And Bilic has plenty of stock with the Boleyn Ground faithful who will hope that he can pick up some more star bargains.
If Carroll leaves, he can share a taxi with Mauro Zarate and Diego Poyet who are now likely to be looking at careers beyond the Boleyn. Argentine Zarate, who scored five goals in 20 appearances, looks set to go to Spanish club Malaga while Diego Poyet is heading back to his old club Charlton to help stave off relegation. He was recalled from his loan spell at MK Dons.
Charlton interim head coach Karel Fraeye said: “I’m very proud to have Diego back. He’s a player who is not afraid on the ball and, although he is very young, he has played a lot of games in the Championship already.”
Meanwhile, highly rated Birmingham City youngster Reece Brown made an impression playing for the Hammers’ Under 21s in a 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion and may make a permanent move to east London.
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