Andy Carroll was close to leaving Liverpool for a season-long loan move to West Ham United last night.
The 23-year-old centre-forward was discussing a loan move, with an option for a permanent £17m deal next summer. West Ham would pay a £1.5m loan fee to Liverpool and all of Carroll's wages for the 2012-13 season.
West Ham had tried earlier in the summer to bring Carroll to the Boleyn Ground but the striker was thought to prefer a move back to Newcastle United, the club which he left for Liverpool for £35m in January 2011.
But Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had made it clear earlier this week that Carroll was not in his first-team plans and that the club would benefit from moving him off their payroll for the season.
"You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see Andy has been a cover player for us and has been excellent in terms of his attitude and acceptance of where he is at," said Rodgers, who confirmed that Carroll was having a medical at West Ham. "But I don't think we are in a position to have £35m players as third-choice strikers, or wingers who are on £5m-£6m a year."
Carroll was not in Rodgers' squad for last night's aggregate win over Hearts in the Europa League. The 18-year-old striker Adam Morgan started up front with Luis Suarez, while Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling were on the bench. Liverpool also last night completed the £1m signing of 18-year-old German striker Samed Yesil from Bayer Leverkusen.
Earlier yesterday, West Ham's manager, Sam Allardyce, suggested that funding was the main barrier in his hopes to bring Carroll to the club. "Our problem is I have since moved on financially," he said, speaking of West Ham's approach earlier in the summer, since when they have spent almost £11m on the Wolves winger Matt Jarvis.
"When I first went for Andy Carroll I could afford him, whether I could now is a different matter," Allardyce said.
If Carroll joins West Ham, it will end a high-profile spell at Liverpool. He joined for £35m on the last day of the January 2011 transfer window, after the departure of Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50m, but struggled for a first-team impact. Carroll has scored just 11 goals for Liverpool and was not always a first choice for Kenny Dalglish, even before Rodgers' arrival.
Carroll's form improved at the end of last season and was selected for England's squad at Euro 2012. He scored a header in England's 3-2 defeat of Sweden in the group stages.