Chelsea have indicated they would be willing to sign Andy Carroll on a permanent basis and have opened discussions with West Ham as they seek to bolster Antonio Conte’s ranks up front.
The Premier League champions are scrutinising a number of forwards in an attempt to ease the workload on Álvaro Morata but, having initially been interested in taking Carroll on a six-month loan, they are considering whether to lodge a bid to sign him permanently. West Ham would want around £20m for a player who has 18 months on his £70,000-a-week deal.
The 29-year-old, who missed Tuesday’s FA Cup third-round win over Shrewsbury Town with an ankle injury, has nine England caps but has scored only twice this term. He does not boast the profile of player to whom Chelsea would normally turn, with his limited resale value and distinctly patchy injury record. Yet Conte’s team have struggled of late to convert chances – they go into Wednesday’s FA Cup third-round replay against Norwich City on the back of three successive goalless draws – and the head coach believes Carroll would add a different dimension.
The club have found options limited in the midwinter market. There is interest in other forwards – Red Star Belgrade’s Ghana international Richmond Boakye has also been assessed and Conte admires Christian Benteke at Crystal Palace – but there is an acceptance it may be easier to pursue short-term targets. Carroll, even at £20m, may fall into that category and would be eligible for European competition, with Chelsea due to face Barcelona in the Champions League next month. Any arrival would allow Michy Batshuayi, who has made three Premier League starts in 18 months, to join Sevilla on loan.
West Ham have made clear they will not countenance Carroll’s departure on a temporary basis but they are open to selling a player who joined for £15m from Liverpool in 2013 after a season on loan at Upton Park. Javier Hernández and Diafra Sakho are also effectively up for sale.
Chelsea have secured Ross Barkley from Everton this month and had hoped to follow that up with a move for Alex Sandro at Juventus. However, talks with the Italian club have failed to yield a compromise on the fee for the left wing-back, prompting Chelsea to widen their search. There is interest in Alex Telles at Porto and Roma’s Emerson Palmieri.