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Are the Hammers ready to move on from Andy Carroll?

Are the China rumors nonsense or a preview?

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Middlesbrough v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Is Andy Carroll’s time in East London about to be over? Slaven Bilic has denied rumors that West Ham United were looking to sell star striker to teams in the Chinese Super League, despite reports that said a big money move was in order. In fact, it was reported that the Hammers hired an agent to look for clubs to sell Andy Carroll to in China, going so far as to give the agent an exclusive deal to get the deal done.

Bilic said in a press conference Thursday that while a few Chinese clubs “fell in love” with Andy Carroll, not bids were seriously considered. However, given that Andy Carroll hasn’t played in a month and has missed more games than he’s played since joining the Hammers from Liverpool, would it be unreasonable for the team to cash in on him? Bilic was quoted as saying “"You know how much I rate him and how much we rate him. We want to keep him.” But can they afford to keep him?

It is interesting to note that the Telegraph story about a possible Christian Benteke transfer in the summer mentioned that a sale of Carroll would be needed to raise the funds to bring Benteke into the club. And while the club spent big on Andre Ayew, most of the the other transfers in the summer were low-cost loan moves or free transfers. So despite claims to the contrary, it appears that West Ham haven’t joined the big leagues in terms of money available for player transfers, despite the move away from Upton Park.

So should another big money move to China present itself during the summer transfer window, maybe the West Ham board should listen a little closer. While Andy Carroll is a club legend, he’s not getting any younger, and it’s rare for footballers to suddenly become more fit the older they get. This might be the right time to cash in on Carroll. Perhaps a cheeky Easter basket of an English-to-Mandarin dictionary and an ex-pat guide to life in Shanghai would be in order, no?