Unless you're Parisian, this has been a pretty uninspiring transfer window thus far. But if there's been one story that's caused us all to choke on the little umbrellas in our summer cocktails, it's the news that Andy Carroll could potentially be on his way back to a life of simultaneously terrorising defences and getting over familiar with orange girls in the back of a burning Land Rover.
There's two ways you can look at this. Either Mike Ashley, one of the shrewdest businessmen this fair land has ever produced, is entering the final stage of the greatest piece of longterm transfer activity ever to befall the sport. Combining his nous for an investment, with the comical naivety of his counterparts at Liverpool, and throwing it all in a big stewing pot with the screaming 400-headed toddler of hype and hysteria that is modern football reportage, he's sold a relatively low value product for vastly more than it was every likely to be worth and, having now brilliantly invested that money, is going to get his original product back at a fraction of the price.
Or, simply enough, Newcastle are just trolling Liverpool.
You can almost picture it can't you? In the back room of some heinously indulgent nightclub, on the coast line of some unpronounceable off-shoot of the Canaries, Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias are propping up a bar with a few hedge-fund types.
"No, honestly, they gave us most of it up front!” brags Derek “with it being so late in the transfer window we thought it would be easier to just give them a ridiculous price tag, rather than a flat-out refusal. You should have seen Mike's face when the fax came through with 'thirty-five' in big bold letters."
Wiping the remnants of his £400 Sex On The Beach cocktail from his chops, Ashley interjects “We were bricking it the next day mind you. But look how things have turned out. Henry and Werner won't even talk to us anymore they're so gutted about it. I don't even think we could get them to pick up the phone unless... I dunno... we told them we wanted to buy him back. It's hilarious really.”
Is it really beyond the realms of possibility that the two awoke the next morning, on the floor of some scenic beach hut and with the taste of Bacardi and human dignity on their breath, to discover a phone bill that included prank calls to Boston and Merseyside – neither of which they had any recollection of?
Let's not forget, this is the bloke who just over a year ago was pictured dancing on a table in a Chinese restaurant, with nothing but a XL pair of Calvin Klein's to protect his modesty. Somewhere between that and appointing Joe Kinnear, the argument for this being some keenly plotted masterstroke starts to unravel slightly.
I mean, millionaires drunk dialling each other to one side for a moment, the argument for Andy Carroll's return is probably worth less than the kebab the lad was eating when he found out about the offer.
The debate goes thusly. The (admittedly few) areas of the game Newcastle struggled with last season were all related to retaining the ball – certainly efficient at winning it back and trying again, but nonetheless being largely wasteful with it. The (also admittedly few) areas of the game Andy Carroll excelled in last season, were exactly the same – holding off his opponents, and picking a decisive ball when under pressure. Arguably then, he'd bring to the team the exact thing it was lacking last season.
But where it falls down is when you approach how you'd actually get him onto the pitch in the first place. A shift back to 4-4-2 would require the sacrifice of either Cisse or Ba, and even if one of them were to do this themselves with a swift phone call to their agent and a short drive to the airport, you then instantly go back to not getting the best out of the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez. Carroll excelled in this system once, but then he had Joey Barton specifically charged with supplying him, and Kevin Nolan almost tailor-made to compliment him. Even if the shape was the same, the way it's applied is vastly different.
Could he not lead the line in a 4-3-3 then? Well, Brendan Rodgers obviously doesn't seem to find the idea of him doing that at Liverpool very appealing, so shoving Papiss 'I-managed-better-than-a-goal-a-game-when-played-through-the-centre' Cisse into the channels to allow it, seems an idea daft in the extreme.
Essentially, he'd offer Newcastle another option. Much as he does for England. He'd never be the tactical focal point, but a refreshing chance of direction - something for the opposition to think about, he'd be a feather-rustler, a noggin-scratcher, a strategic red sock thrown into a load of whites as they went into stoppage time.
And you don't break your record transfer fee for a plan B.
Mind you, when you've already missed out on your main transfer target because you couldn't justify the few extra quid his signature would have necessitated, and you've got a lad with a sizeable sell-on clause clamouring for an exit, kicking off a bidding war a month before the window shuts might end up being the smartest move since Mr Ashley unleashed a moonwalk in his work shoes.
Read more from Adam Clery HERE