ZURICH (AP) – Andy Carroll's future at Liverpool seems increasingly uncertain despite the Reds rejecting a bid by former club Newcastle to take back the striker on loan.
The Magpies confirmed today that they had made an offer for the England international to go back to the north east, initially for a temporary spell.
While that was flatly turned down, it is understood the Merseysiders would entertain offers for a permanent transfer of their £35million British record signing.
New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers admitted this week that he would consider sending Carroll out on loan this season.
While Liverpool were not commenting on the matter it is now understood the club would only sell Carroll, rather than entertaining thoughts of a loan move.
The 23-year-old arrived at Liverpool for a club-record fee from Newcastle 18 months ago but failed to live up to his price tag under Kenny Dalglish.
The arrival of Rodgers has seemingly pushed him closer towards the Anfield exit door with his former club on Sunday making a sensational attempt to bring him back to St James' Park.
But it is understood Newcastle's deal fell short of anything they might consider.
The Magpies have no immediate need to strengthen their hand in the striking department, although they spent the early part of the summer wooing FC Twente's Luuk de Jong, although found the asking price too rich.
However, the spectre of the release-clause in Demba Ba's contract makes him vulnerable, at least until the end of this month, although Pardew insisted last week that there had been no contact with any club over any of his key men.
But Ba and Papiss Cisse could be required by Senegal for the African Nations Cup, while Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands have left the club, so reinforcements will be required at some point.
Should Newcastle attempt to sign Carroll permanently they could face competition from newly-promoted West Ham, who this week showed interest in reuniting the striker with former Newcastle team-mate Kevin Nolan, while AC Milan too were credited with an interest in him.
Carroll's departure for Liverpool sparked a furious reaction in the north east when a man around whom it seemed likely the team would be assembled was allowed to leave.
Newcastle had little intention of selling him until the final few hours of the transfer window when the Reds made an offer they simply could not refuse.
The 6ft 3in marksman had barely half a season of top-flight football under his belt, but 11 goals to add to the 19 he had plundered in the Championship a season earlier had marked him out as an emerging talent.
Dalglish was convinced he could prosper on Merseyside, but it simply did not happen for him in his first year or so at his new club, and his price tag was repeatedly thrown back in his face as Ba and Cisse, the men signed from the proceeds, prospered on the other side of the Pennines.
He belatedly made an impression at the end of last season and was one of few England players to emerge from Euro 2012 with any credit after scoring a superb headed goal against Sweden.