£5.3m wasted: Ashley must boot 9-cap dud once considered a “massive asset” out of NUFC – opinion

£5.3m wasted: Ashley must boot 9-cap dud once considered a “massive asset” out of NUFC – opinion

Mike Ashley must move to boot Andy Carroll out of St. James’ Park for the final time this summer amid doubt in his long-term Newcastle United future.

What’s the word?

According to Chronicle Live, the Magpies are yet to decide on whether or not they will offer Carroll a new contract ahead of his potential summer exit.

The striker is due to hit free agency at the end of the season, but has an agreement with the club in place to know their position by the middle of May.

West Bromwich Albion are thought to be admirers of Carroll if he departs Tyneside unattached, although the Baggies’ position is dependent on Sam Allardyce remaining at The Hawthorns.

A clutch of Championship sides are also monitoring Carroll’s situation, as Newcastle scout the Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga for potential replacements.

The Toon could move to tie Carroll down with a new deal at any stage, while talks over new terms may hinge on the forward agreeing to take a pay cut.

Carroll’s priority is said to be regarding his playing time having struggled to get a look in under Steve Bruce of late, and was unhappy at being left an unused substitute in the 3-0 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion prior to the international break.

The Amex Stadium affair marked the sixth time that Carroll has been left an unused substitute in Newcastle’s last 10 Premier League games, while playing a mere 15 minutes over his four appearances.

Should Newcastle retain Carroll?

While Newcastle could move to tie Carroll down and retain their current striker group – amid reports that Dwight Gayle is due to pen a three-year deal – Ashley must move to boot the former England international out of St. James’ Park for the final time.

Carroll has proven to be a complete disaster since his return to the north east after being released by West Ham United, far from the “massive asset” that Danny Mills expected him to be.

The nine-cap Three Lions striker has scored just once over 41 appearances in all competitions since re-joining his boyhood club on Deadline Day of the summer 2019 market.

His single strike to date came on January 3, 2021 when Newcastle saw defeat in the new year with a 2-1 loss at Leicester City, ending a 33 game drought for 6 ft 4 centre-forward who Nedum Onuoha still lauds for his ability to provide “a sense of chaos and just go for it.”

Rarely has that chaos been delivered, and Carroll will likely leave Tyneside this summer having cost Ashley £5.3m in wages since his return to Newcastle without anything to show for it.

Reports by The Guardian claimed Carroll re-joined the Magpies last season on an effective pay-as-you-play deal worth a basic £20,000-per-week, but would see the target man net an additional £55,000 for every start and £15,000 when introduced from the bench.

He would only start five times across all competitions for a bonus of £275,000 and make 16 substitute appearances for £240,000 on top of his basic earnings of £920,000, before penning a new one-year deal on June 25 worth what Spotrac claim to be £75,000-per-week.

Carroll will have been on that lucrative deal for 52 weeks when the terms lapse on June 30, netting him £3.9m. Added with his earnings from 2019/20, that comes to a tidy £5.3m, not bad for a player who rarely features or offers anything on the pitch.

It’s a sum of money that’s been completely wasted.

AND in other news, Newcastle could save at least £8.5m by unleashing a £38k-p/w “life-saver” next season