- Premier League
West Ham make Liverpool's Carroll 'top priority'
West Ham United will make the permanent signing of Liverpool forward Andy Carroll their top priority this summer, manager Sam Allardyce has said.
Carroll, 24, has been on a season-long loan at Upton Park and appears to be surplus to requirements at Liverpool, with manager Brendan Rodgers suggesting last month that he has not changed his view that the striker does not fit with his preferred style of play. He has said in recent days that a decision would be taken in the summer.
West Ham have already made clear they would like to retain Carroll and, although Allardyce had claimed the player was "too expensive", he has now confirmed his club will pursue a deal.
"He is, obviously, our target to make it a permanent signing if we can," he told the club's official website. "Hopefully we can get somewhere in the near future to do that. It's our main priority at the moment.
"We have to pursue that to the very end, one way or the other, and find out as quickly as we can whether it's going to be a yes or a no. So that'll be the first priority - and, of course, if we can start with Andy Carroll, that will be a great achievement for us.
"At his young age, he can only get better and better in terms of his playing prowess. Then I think we build around that in terms of what we want to improve next."
Carroll, who has indicated a willingness to sign for West Ham, this week earned a return to the England squad and Allardyce added: "You see his all-round ability showing more and more in every game that he plays.
"It's not just about his aerial prowess in the box - it's about his overall game, his hold-up play, his quality on the ball and his retention of possession. He makes life very difficult for centre-halves and his all-round game is getting better and better."