Newcastle legend Shearer urges Andy Carroll to return to Tyneside
FORMER Newcastle captain Alan Shearer believes returning to Tyneside would be a "great move" for Liverpool striker Andy Carroll.
Liverpool flatly turned down Newcastle's bid to re-sign the 23-year-old international on a season-long loan over the weekend, but have made it known they would be willing to listen to offers for a permanent transfer for a player who cost them £35m 18 months ago.
Shearer reckons heading back to the north-east could be the best option for Carroll.
The 41-year-old said: "Andy is an England centre-forward and I wouldn't say he has been a flop at Liverpool by any means.
"Yes, it took him a bit of time to settle there but he finished the season strongly and considering he only started one game at the Euros, I thought he did well.
"Make no mistake, he is a very good footballer. I can fully understand why Newcastle are in for him and I think it would be a great move.
"When he was there before he benefited from the fact that the team was always working to get him the ball - and he thrived on that. That hasn't always been the case at Liverpool and perhaps at times he suffered."
He added: "There is an old saying that you should never go back but, in Andy's case, I don't think it would be a mistake at all.
"He was hero-worshipped by the crowd first time around and they would warm to him again. Andy loved playing there and whatever the fans felt about him leaving to join Liverpool, I'm sure he would win them over quickly."
As Liverpool moved closer to the signing of Joe Allen from Swansea, it emerged that the north-east club would have to pay around £20m to secure a deal for Carroll before the start of the season.
New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to raise funds by offloading a striker he doesn't believe can adapt to his style of football and has made it clear that he can not make any guarantees about Carroll's Anfield future.
Liverpool rejected the first proposal of a loan back to St James' Park. The only compromise on this would be if Newcastle paid a huge sum up front, of around £5m, to secure Carroll for the season before committing themselves to another large chunk to make the deal permanent next summer.
If they cannot agree a loan, Newcastle are expected to lodge an initial offer of £10m-£15m later in the transfer window, and Carroll would be happy to rejoin them.
Liverpool have been stung too often in recent loan deals -- they still cannot shift Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani after his two-year loan stint in Serie A -- and will not make the same mistake again.
Although Carroll will insist his preference is for Liverpool to deal solely with Newcastle, Rodgers will not feel his bargaining position has especially weakened.
Much is made of the embarrassment for the Merseyside club in paying £35m for the player 18 months ago and already facing a loss of at least £15m. The club's hierarchy has long since accepted the folly of that deal, and the fact that those responsible -- Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish -- have since been sacked is as much of a painful acknowledgement of the miscalculation as any financial hit they now inevitably face.
Rodgers' willingness to offload Carroll, which he hinted at in public last week, was made clear to club owners Fenway Sports Group when the manager outlined his vision for the future. He has the club's blessing to reshape the squad as he sees fit, and Carroll knows that if he was to stay on Merseyside he would be a squad player.
After signing Fabio Borini from Roma for £11m, Rodgers is close to adding Allen for a similar fee and negotiations are continuing with Fulham to secure Clint Dempsey.
Allen is aware of Liverpool's interest and has asked Swansea not to deny him the opportunity to move to Merseyside. Although there was an agreement between Liverpool and the Welsh side not to pursue those players who flourished under Rodgers, ultimately it is the player's decision.
Dempsey has also been a target since Rodgers' appointment due to his ability to play either as a target man or in a 4-3-3, but the American striker is 29, however, which is impacting on how much Liverpool are prepared to pay.
Funds have been freed in recent days by the release of Maxi Rodriguez, who was earning around £80,000 a week, and the imminent departure of Craig Bellamy.
Liverpool headed to Boston yesterday for the start of a North American tour. Joe Cole is among those hoping to persuade Rodgers he can revive his Reds career, while other Dalglish signings, such as Charlie Adam, must also convince the new manager.