It is around this time of year (and every summer) when Sky Sports and others, ask if Andy Carroll is coming back to Newcastle United.
Every transfer window without fail, the story is ran, then repeated and repeated.
Today though it is Sky Sports reporting on whether the striker will be returning to Newcastle in the West Ham team on Saturday.
An injury hit Hammers team could have at least eight players not in a position to start at St James Park, with Andy Carroll being one of them.
West Ham are waiting on their best player, Marko Arnautovic, to see if he recovers from an injury last weekend in the 4-0 home defeat to Man City. Carroll obviously a potential replacement if he was fit.
However, he hasn’t started a game since 2 January 2018 and last weekend was his first time this season when he has made the bench (as an unused sub) as he comes back from the latest injury.
Difficult to believe that the forward turns 30 in January when it will be eight years since he moved for £35m to Liverpool.
Not wanting to tempt fate but in that time he has failed to score a single goal against Newcastle.
Interestingly, Newcastle remains the only club that Andy Carroll has ever scored double figures for in a Premier League season, 11 goals in only 18 starts (1 appearance as sub) before NUFC sold him in January 2011.
Undoubtedly he is still a handful in the air but he is a player that has become somebody almost forgotten about due to his injuries and struggles with fitness.
In the 94 months since leaving Tyneside, Carroll has only started 107 Premier League matches for Liverpool and West Ham, the last three and a half years only 35 Premier League starts, named 34 times on the bench in that period. Even when back from injury he has struggled for games.
It is actually 20 months (1 April 2017) since Andy Carroll scored in a Premier League match he started for West Ham, so it will be indeed interesting if they start him on Saturday.
Sky Sports also put forward the idea of it being a double return, with Jack Wilshere also coming back into the West Ham starting eleven.
I’m guessing Rafa Benitez would be loving that idea, Wilshere hasn’t played any football for three months and his last game was 1 September 2018, not even named on the bench since ten as he once again recovers from an injury. Two players way below match fitness, Benitez has his team playing at a far better pace now, pressing the opposition in these last two matches and wins against Burnley and Bournemouth.
Newcastle have a great record against the Hammers who have only won once at St James Park since 1998, a great chance for this NUFC to make it four wins in a row if approaching it with the same energy and attitude as they did on Monday night.
‘Will Andy Carroll make his return?
‘Andy Carroll has not started a game for West Ham since January 2.
‘But the former Newcastle striker is in contention to make his return on Saturday.
‘Having returned from injury, he was an unused substitute as the Hammers were beaten 4-0 at home by Manchester City last weekend.
‘That result continued a poor run of form that has seen West Ham win just once since the start of October.
‘Manuel Pellegrini’s cause has not been helped by several injury issues, but the return of Carroll – along with Jack Wilshere – could come at a good time.’