It has been the subject of football gossip pages virtually every transfer window since the player fell out of favour at Liverpool and now, eight years later, it has finally happened.
Andy Carroll has re-signed for Newcastle United on a free-transfer after passing a medical and agreeing terms on a one-year deal, which The Chronicle claim is heavily dependent on his playtime.
It has been suggested he was willing to take a significant pay cut in order to force through the move back to his boyhood club, as his wages and injury record have been a stumbling block in the past.
"This is the only place for me"
Speaking to the club's official website, Carroll explained his reasons for moving back home to his boyhood club: “It feels very good. My friends and family are here, and it’s the club that I support – it is home," he said.
“I enjoyed the time I spent here, and hopefully I can carry on where I left off. When I left eight-and-a-half years ago, I was scoring goals and I was enjoying my football. It’s been a pretty tough time since then, and I just want to get back to that.
“I know it’s home. I’ve played here, I’ve spoken to the fans – I am a fan – and my family is here. For me to get back to where I was, I think this is the only place for me.”
Head Coach Steve Bruce also spoke about the motivation behind the deal and what Carroll will add to his pool of striking options:
“To bring a local hero like Andy back to Newcastle United is fantastic. He is very excited to be home," said Bruce.
“He is a big, physical threat in the opposition box and another great option for us at the top end of the pitch.
“He gives us something different to what we already have and we’ll do our best to get him flying again.”
More than just a back-up striker
Carroll will bring much-needed cover for star signing Joelinton in the centre-forward role, but he also gives them the option to roll the dice at set-pieces late on in games.
Despite his past injuries, he still scored impressive goals at West Ham when available, and remains virtually unbeatable in the air.
More importantly, it is clear the move is not motivated by money, as he will want to once again wear the black and white shirt with pride and play with the same intensity and passion that he used to.
If he can transfer that into the dressing room and use his experience to galvanise the squad, he may even become a key player in Steve Bruce's side.
It is undoubtedly an emotional signing, but one that could only happen if it also made financial and practical sense. This time, the stars seem to have aligned and player, club and manager have all worked to make it a reality.
The club's hierarchy will be hoping his return goes some way to repairing relations with the fans, but it will be on the pitch that Carroll will want to make the most impact.