Andy Carroll could miss most of the remainder of the Premier League season if he opts to undergo surgery on a troublesome ankle issue, according to The Guardian.
The striker was due for talks with Chelsea over a potential £20 million switch to Stamford Bridge, but a hairline fracture of his ankle, which will take six weeks to recover from should he decide not to go under the knife, scuppered the transfer.
Whilst the news is a blow to the Blues and their plans for the window, it also presents a problem for the Hammers, who could be left short of forward options by the end of January.
Diafra Sakho and Javier Hernandez have both been linked with moves away from the club but could now be kept around to cover for Carroll’s extended absence.
As for the former Newcastle United man, this is the latest blow in a career that has been dogged by fitness concerns, particularly since he joined the Irons back in 2012.
Carroll has played just 128 times in his five-and-a-half campaigns in East London, with knee and groin injuries proving especially problematic amongst other more minor knocks.
This term he has made 14 appearances, scoring just twice, which goes some way to explaining why there was such surprise when Chelsea’s interest in the player came to light.
Many West Ham fans felt that offloading the England international was the best option for the club given his high wages and the difficulties in getting him fit to play regular top-flight football.
However, it appears now he is staying put, although whether he will be seen in claret and blue again remains in doubt and may depend on his decision regarding surgery.
David Moyes’ men are back in action against Bournemouth on Saturday and could move into the top half with a win if other results go their way.