Andy Carroll’s injury troubles show no sign of letting up and West Ham have taken the decision to dip into the free transfer market to bolster their options for the remainder of the season.
There is some speculation that Carroll may not play again in 2013 after picking up another ankle injury on his first day back in full training.
There were plenty of targets discussed in the summer transfer window, with Colombian striker Duvan Zapata, former Barcelona forward Maxi Lopez and a possible return to Upton Park for Carlton Cole all linked, but none of these deals materialised.
Another former striker in Demba Ba was additionally considered a loan possibility, but he ended up remaining at Chelsea.
With only the free transfer market open to Sam Allardyce now, his hands are tied, but at least the anticipated capture of Mladen Petric does ensure a player is being recruited with Premier League experience.
He scored five goals in 19 league appearances for Fulham last season and could have arguably netted more, had his starting position not been compromised by Dimitar Berbatov.
The big problem for the Hammers is that Petric is not technically a target man and so may not be a natural in producing the goods as a lone frontman.
However, given his status as a free transfer, he is virtually risk free and can hardly do any worse than the likes of Diego Tristan and John Carew in the past, who would have been paid similar wages but massively underachieved.
West Ham are currently 13/8 to finish in the top half and 4/9 to be among the bottom 10 this season and based on the high quality of their defence so far, which way they swing could be determined on whether they can find a regular source of goals in Carroll’s absence.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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