This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Championship outfit Reading signed ex-Newcastle United forward Andy Carroll on a two-month contract yesterday, with the 32-year-old staying with the second-tier side until mid-January.
The 6’4 forward left the Magpies on the expiration of his contract at St James’ Park in the summer, making 37 Premier League appearances in two seasons on his return to the club and playing a respectable amount of games considering injuries have tarnished his career.
He scored just once during his second spell with the Tyneside club – but will be hoping to get in and amongst the goals again after taking the step back down to the second tier.
Quiz: Have Reading FC ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?
His last campaign in the Championship saw him register 17 goals and 12 assists for Newcastle, a record from 2009/10 that he’s unlikely to match at the Select Car Leasing Stadium considering his potentially short stay at the club, but he will come in use for a side that are currently struggling up top with injuries and George Puscas’ loss of form.
With Lucas Joao and Yakou Meite currently on the sidelines, the Royals have struggled in front of goal recently, scoring just two goals in their last four league matches and will be hoping the arrival of Carroll will solve their attacking woes.
After seeing the deal confirmed yesterday, we asked three of our Football League World writers whether he’s a good signing for the Berkshire club – and whether it was worth the risk in bringing him in on a short-term deal.
This is a bold move by Reading but it is one that might pay off handsomely for them if Andy Carroll can keep himself fully fit and get towards the levels of form he has shown he is capable of when at his best during his career.
Carroll will certainly provide the Royals with a different sort of attacking threat to utilise against their opponents and he will be able to cause chaos in the opposing team’s penalty areas if he is handed the right sort of service from Reading’s creative players.
However, Reading’s squad has already been impacted by injury issues so far this season and signing Carroll with his previous record in that regard is a risk for the Royals.
So, it might well be that if he can not get into a position where he remains fully fit and in-form then it might have been a mistake to offer him a deal.
Having said that, this signing has to be worth a gamble for Reading and you can see Carroll adding something to their squad. It might well be that it proves to be an excellent addition if he is able to get into the sort of form that he is capable of.
It is a move that could really go any possible way.
It could prove to be brilliant, catastrophic, or sail away to mediocrity, but it is one that I am excited to see progress.
He has the physicality, experience and goalscoring touch to shine at Championship level, but his lack of minutes in recent season is somewhat a cause of concern.
Reading are amidst an injury crisis at present, with their forward line taking the biggest hit, and with Andy Carroll growing an unwanted reputation of being quite injury-prone, it is certainly a punt.
However, if he is able to play regularly with The Royals, then he has every chance of going on to succeed.
This does seem to be a rather sensible move from Reading in the circumstances.
The Royals have been hampered by a combination of form and fitness issues among their attacking players since the start of the season, which has certainly not aided their cause in the Championship table.
As a result, the addition of a new striker was always something that could make sense for the club, and the addition of one with the amount of top-level experience that Carroll in particular, could prove important for Reading in front of goal.
Given Carroll’s own chequered injury record, the fact this is only a short-term deal does seem to make sense, since it means they will not be tied to a costly long-term contract with the striker, if he is to suffer another setback in terms of his own fitness situation, though it does put them in pole position to extend his stay at the club if he makes a positive impact.
This therefore, does look to have the potential to be a smart piece of business by The Royals, and there will be plenty who are interested to see just how it works out over the coming months.