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Hello, goodbye: West Ham United linked with striker switch

West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce, 2/1 with Coral to lead his team to a top 10 finish, is supposedly set for further wheeling and dealing in the January transfer window.

Potential homecoming heroes Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe could pass each other at the Upton Park gates, with the out of favour Three Lions forwards both reported to be ready for a change of scenery.

Striker Carroll, a rumoured target for former club Newcastle United, is currently sidelined, but could be close to a Hammers return. After suffering an ankle injury in pre-season, the 25-year-old has seen his chances of a starting spot diminished, as Allardyce bolstered his attacking options significantly in summer, snapping up Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate.

Senegal striker Sakho has already fired home three times in all competitions, with Valencia and Zaurate also opening their accounts, making Carroll a likely casualty of this fine form.

Allardyce was previously criticised for his style of play, which revolved around target man Carroll, but is now reaping the rewards of his summer splurge and basking in the glow of defeating Premier League giants Liverpool. This tactical switch could see Carroll become surplus to requirements, with the injury-prone frontman no longer guaranteed a starting spot when fit.

Now under-fire Magpies boss Alan Pardew could be tempted to take a gamble on the former Tyneside club’s cult hero, and rescue Carroll from his Upton Park problems with a loan deal.

The 6ft 4in forward rose through the ranks at St James’ Park, where he scored 11 times in 20 appearances in his last half season for his hometown side in 2010, before making an eye-watering, ill-fated £35m move to Liverpool.

West Ham then forked out a £15m fee to make Anfield outcast Carroll’s switch from the Reds permanent last summer, but the battering ram managed just two goals in 16 appearances during an injury-ravaged stint in the capital.

If Carroll does leave the east London outfit, compatriot Defoe could be his replacement, with the 31-year-old reported to be the subject of a transfer tug-of-war between Allardyce and QPR coach Harry Redknapp.

Current Toronto striker Defoe is apparently preparing to return to the Premier League and, despite reportedly handing in a transfer request to the Hammers hierarchy when the club were relegated to the Championship in 2003, could find himself back at Upton Park.

Since leaving West Ham in 2004, Defoe has notched up extensive Premier League experience, with two stints at Tottenham and a spell at Portsmouth.

Whilst a return to his roots with the Hammers, who are 6/1 to be relegated, could be tempting, a mooted reunion with former Spurs and Pompey mentor Redknapp may see him plump for a move to the Hoops instead.

Allardyce will be hoping West Ham can lure the England attacker back to Upton Park, where Defoe, who netted 41 times in 105 appearances, could be another catalyst for a successful season.