I'm just getting into my stride now, says £35m man
Liverpool's Andy Carroll insisted he had finally turned a corner at the club, hours before evidence emerged suggesting he had been offered to Manchester City in a swap for Carlos Tevez.
The £35m striker's influential display in his side's 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round win against Manchester United on Saturday led him to declare: "I think I'm just getting into my stride now. Everyone is getting used to how I play and I'm getting used to everyone else, but everyone is helping me and now I just need to get going."
But shortly afterwards, sources revealed City's football administrator Brian Marwood had received a call on Thursday from someone at Anfield with the authority to propose the Tevez swap, with no cash attached.
One source suggested that Marwood, who was surprised but not interested in acquiring Carroll, responded with a joke along the lines of "throw in Stevie G and we'll think about it," which ended the brief conversation.
Though two independent sources validated the swap story yesterday, Liverpool are privately denying the suggestion that the informal approach was made. The club said nothing publicly on the issue yesterday.
Tevez's representatives were not approached in advance regarding such a move and it is understood he would not have wanted it anyway.
Tevez's desire to leave the north-west of England has been well chronicled and although he is expected to be back in Manchester this week, his prospects of a January move all but extinguished, his next move is highly likely to be out of Britain -- possibly to Paris St-Germain in the summer.
Carroll is aware of the story, too, though the 23-year-old indicated -- after setting up Dirk Kuyt's winner which sent Liverpool into a fifth-round tie against Brighton, the conquerors of his old club, Newcastle -- that his performance against the Premier League champions could kickstart his career on Merseyside.
"Yes, of course (it could)," he said. "I thought I did well today but now I've just got to keep on going and keep working on it and then it will come.
"Everyone is backing me and helping me along the way. I love it here. All the lads are great with me in training and, away from the training ground, everyone has been great with me."
Carroll claimed there had not been a time when he had regretted his £35m move. "No, not at all," he said. "The club has been great with me and I'm enjoying it here. Winning in midweek (in the Carling Cup semi-final against City) and getting to the final and then Man U coming here, beating them and getting through -- it's a great feeling."
Tevez has been told by City to make himself available for training after the transfer window closes tomorrow, and he may take a flight back from Buenos Aires tomorrow ahead of training two days later.
The players' day off is Wednesday, following tomorrow night's visit to Everton. Tevez has been working with a fitness trainer during his unauthorised absence in Argentina and is probably two weeks away from full match fitness.
Manager Roberto Mancini may say more at a press conference this morning about how a player he has ruled out of his future plans can be assimilated back into the club. (© Independent News Service)