West Ham United have stepped up their pursuit of Andy Carroll with a club-record bid worth £17 million for the Liverpool striker.
The Hammers have offered to take Carroll on loan with a view to a permanent deal next summer if the club avoid relegation in the coming season.
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The striker would prefer a return to his former club, Newcastle, who remain interested in the England international after offering to loan him for 2012-13 with the option of a £15m transfer next summer.
That bid was rejected by Liverpool, who want more than £20m for a player who cost £35m when he arrived from Tyneside in January 2011. The Reds will also refuse to contemplate subsidising any of Carroll’s £80,000-a-week wages.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has targeted Carroll as he is desperate to land a striker to lead the line next term following the team's promotion to the Premier League.
Allardyce shares an agent with his target and is also hopeful that the forward's good friendship with Hammers captain Kevin Nolan will work in the Londoners' favour.
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The Reds boss is believed to be ready to tell Carroll that he will not get regular playing time at Anfield next season and the Ulsterman would like funds to reinvest in the squad and aid their challenge for a top-four finish.
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