West Ham’s chances of signing Liverpool striker Andy Carroll on a permanent deal appear to now rest solely with the player after the two clubs reached agreement on a transfer fee.
It is understood that Liverpool agreed several weeks ago to accept a fee of £15m, rising with various add-ons, to get the 24-year-old striker off their wage bill.
With the Hammers willing to pay the asking price for a player that cost £35m when joining the Reds from Newcastle in January 2011, the only barrier to the transfer is Carroll himself, who has spoken fondly of his season-long loan at Upton Park.
A major consideration for the England international, recently recalled to Roy Hodgson’s squad, will be the implications of a pay cut at Upton Park.
But with a World Cup just 12 months away, Carroll has to weigh up whether he would be better off playing regularly with little likelihood of first-team football under Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
Despite only scoring seven goals at West Ham, the 6ft 3ins striker proved a popular signing and he admits he has enjoyed his time in London.
“I have enjoyed every minute of being here,” he told whufc.com.
“I have just tried to play my best in every match, score goals and keep myself fit once I got back from the injuries I had and then push on from there.
“I have worked hard to get myself back in the England squad, trying to play my best for West Ham, so I am really pleased about that.
“I just have to make sure I keep playing well to stay in there.
“I have had a great season here at West Ham, really enjoyed being part of a great set of lads in the team, with the staff around us and the fans.
“Everyone has been so welcoming to me and I have been over the moon to be here. This is a great club.”
Another exit Liverpool have to prepare for is that of goalkeeper Jose Reina.
They have made contingency plans should Reina move on, but Stoke’s Asmir Begovic is not top of their replacements list.
Spain international Reina’s future has been the subject of debate for several months and it is understood his representatives have been in dialogue with Barcelona.
Although there has yet to be any contact made between the two clubs Liverpool have identified a number of options should the Catalans make a move for Reina, who would find difficult to turn down a return to his former club.
However, despite reports in Bosnia claiming a deal has already been agreed for Begovic to move to Anfield should Reina leave Press Association Sport understands that is not the case.
Liverpool are considering the 25-year-old – who would command a significant fee from the Potters – as a viable option but he is not top of manager Brendan Rodgers’ shortlist of candidates.
Any sale of Reina would generate upwards of £10m and would get a significant earner off the wage bill, but the club are in no rush to do a deal.
The goalkeeper himself insists he is happy at Anfield despite continued speculation about his likely departure this summer.
“I have three more years with Liverpool. I’m satisfied, comfortable and my family are very happy,” said the 30-year-old, who progressed through the youth ranks at Barcelona – for whom his father Miguel also played – before moving to Villarreal prior to joining Liverpool.
“Rumours are difficult to control but it’s flattering when a club like Barca are interested in you.
“I don’t know if there has been contact between the clubs or with my agent.
“At the moment I don’t think there’s anything serious.”
He added on radio station Cadena Ser: “I would’ve liked to have played there (Barcelona) more, of course, but there’s no need to over-dramatise things.
“I don’t know how long I’ve got left in football, what I do know is I want to enjoy what remains and feel appreciated and at Liverpool I have that.”
Rodgers is moving forward on his plans for summer strengthening by looking at bringing in Manchester City’s out-of-contract centre-back Kolo Toure.
The Reds boss needs to fill the hole left by the retirement of Jamie Carragher and the 32-year-old Ivory Coast international is seen as a potential short-term fix.
However, once again Rodgers has other options he wants to pursue in central defence and a deal for Toure is far from done.