Captain Kevin Nolan does not believe West Ham pushing through a deal for Andy Carroll is “the be all and end all” of the club's summer transfer policy.
Irons boss Sam Allardyce would love to build next season's team around the England striker, who impressed during his loan spell from Liverpool despite only scoring seven times.
However, while Carroll last night posted a message on Twitter saying how much he had "enjoyed every minute of being at West Ham", making a permanent switch has several hurdles to overcome. Not least the £17million fee parent club Liverpool would expect the Irons to meet, with former side Newcastle and Monaco said to be closely monitoring the situation.
Nolan, who played with Carroll during their spells on Tyneside, hopes to see his good friend back in claret and blue, but accepts the club must not pin all of their aspirations on progression next season at the feet of the 6ft 3ins England frontman.
"It will be massive if we do get Andy, but it is not the be all and end all," Nolan said.
"I have been with Sam a long time. When he did not manage to get his first man, he has always managed to get his second man and we always manage to do well.
"If he gets the chance to bring the quality of the players he wants, then I am sure we will be aiming for the higher echelons of the Premier League.
"I have a lot of faith that Sam will get the men he wants in the summer and will be working hard with the chairman to do that."
Nolan has not been putting any extra pressure on Carroll and understands the forward's own playing ambitions will be a bit factor in his final decision.
"Andy is a clever lad, he knows he has got to play football," said Nolan, who left St James Park in the summer of 2011, helping West Ham win promotion from the Championship at the first attempt.
"If he gets offered someone who are in the Champions League or the Europa League, then he has got to make the decision.
"I know he has enjoyed his time here, you can see that on the pitch, he gets on well with all the lads, so we will see what happens."
Whether or not they are able to push through a deal for Carroll, West Ham are expected to be busy over the summer as they look to push on from a creditable 10th place.
The Irons have already been linked with moves for the likes of Celtic forward Gary Hooper and Vitesse Arnhem's Wilfried Bony - top scorer in the Dutch league - as well as veteran Italian midfielder Massimo Ambrosini, who is out of contract at AC Milan.
Romania captain Razvan Rat is another said to be on Allardyce's wish list, with the 31-year-old left-back available on a free transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Austrian defender Emanuel Pogatetz will leave at the end of his loan spell, while Allardyce must also make a decision on Wellington Paulista and Morocco forward Marouane Chamakh is set to be sold by Arsenal, probably back to France after failing to impress at Upton Park.
Nolan believes Allardyce, who has just agreed a two-year contract extension, will help keep the club moving forwards as they prepare for relocation to the Olympic Stadium.
The midfielder said: "We are glad Sam has signed his deal, because as a squad we feel we can move forwards and hopefully with a few new faces in the summer we can kick on again.
"But it is going to be about consolidation because everyone knows how tough it is going to be.
"We will review everything, though, with the way Sam is with analysis. It keeps you on your toes, nothing goes unnoticed here."
West Ham co-chairman David Gold has, meanwhile, indicated the club would like to introduce a safe-standing area once they are settled in Stratford, with a post-conversion capacity of 54,000 scheduled for the start of the 2016-17 season.
Speaking to West Ham e-Magazine Blowing Bubbles, Gold said: "Safe standing in football stadiums will happen. I promise you it will happen.
"I would be stunned if we don't have some sort of safe-standing experiment soon.
"I think, in five years, we will see safe standing at football stadiums because, let's face it, it's not very expensive to install and it's safe, very safe. In fact, it's twice or three times safer than what we have at the moment."
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