Newcastle United will attempt to bring Andy Carroll back to Newcastle United for just ┬ú7 million this summer as they insist Liverpool have to be realistic about their asking price for a striker they do not want to keep.
With West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce conceding it is too expensive for him to consider turning CarrollÔÇÖs loan into a permanent move at the end of the season, Newcastle appear to be the only realistic destination for the England international.
West Ham have an option to buy Carroll when his loan deal expires next month, but at ┬ú17 million and with wages of ┬ú90,000 a week, he is out of their price range ahead of the introduction of UefaÔÇÖs Financial Fair Play regulations.
That has reopened the door for Newcastle, but managing director Derek Llambias will not consider going anywhere near the ┬ú17 million Liverpool are looking to recoup for a player manager Brendan Rodgers has no intention of using.
Instead, Newcastle will open the bidding at ┬ú7 million, although they are willing to negotiate and could raise their bid to the ┬ú10 million they were willing to pay last summer before Carroll went on loan to West Ham.
Carroll is very much a priority target for Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. His side have lacked any goal threat from corners and free-kicks, something Carroll automatically brings.
Newcastle have not scored from a corner since playing Wolverhampton Wanderers in October 2011, a total of 277 wasted set-piece crosses, which has led to criticism of Pardew and his coaching staff .
The 24-year-oldÔÇÖs physical and combative style, allied to his excellent hold-up play with his back to goal, means Carroll is also seen as the perfect partner for poacher Papiss Demba Ciss├® at St JamesÔÇÖ Park.
Liverpool will be reluctant to sell Carroll back to Newcastle for anything less than ┬ú15 million, though, given they spent a British record of ┬ú35 million to sign him in January 2011.
Although Newcastle also asked to loan their former No 9 last season with an option to buy before he went to West Ham, Liverpool refused to enter into negotiations with them.
Rodgers has been credited with an interest in NewcastleÔÇÖs star player, Hatem Ben Arfa, and a potential swap deal had been mooted on Merseyside.
However, that is highly unlikely to get beyond the idea stage. Ben Arfa was adamant in an interview last week that he did not want to leave Newcastle, and Pardew did not want to sell him, even if it helped bring Carroll ÔÇ£back homeÔÇØ.
Liverpool will definitely look to sell Carroll when the transfer window opens as Rodgers has already admitted he ÔÇ£is too expensive to be a substituteÔÇØ, but potential destinations are limited.
Carroll does not want to go abroad and there are few clubs with the means to sign a player who, for all his attributes, has not yet lived up to the goalscoring potential he showed as a teenager on Tyneside.
Although Carroll has scored six goals in his last 10 appearances, that is still only six in 22 for the whole season. Since leaving Newcastle 27 months ago, he has only managed 12 league goals.
Key to NewcastleÔÇÖs confidence is the fact they know Carroll wants to join them as he is keen to return to his native North-East and, privately, admitted when he signed for Liverpool that he would like to play for his hometown club again one day.
The biggest stumbling block for Newcastle should they manage to reach an agreement with Liverpool will be CarrollÔÇÖs wages, but with a new television deal swelling the coffers should they win their relegation battle, the Newcastle hierarchy believe they can manage to put together a package to satisfy the striker and his advisers.