West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has conceded that the club may not be able to afford the signing of on-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll due to his wage demands.
Despite a number of injury problems, Carroll, 24, has impressed during his stint at Upton Park this season, hitting six goals in 20 appearances.
The England international has made it clear he would be happy to make the move permanent when his deal expires in the summer, while Reds manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed his club are willing to offload the player.
But although Allardyce has previously stated that he is keen to secure Carroll's services on a long-term basis, he feels the Hammers cannot match the wages the former Newcastle man would be earning at Anfield.
The West Ham boss suggested that the Financial Fair Play rules that are set to come into play in the Premier League next season - which will impose short-term limits on wage rises - means a deal between the two parties looks unlikely.
"The hardest thing is the overall package and making sure it is sustainable," he said. "I point to financial restrictions being implemented next season that will blow the whole deal in one go.
"Someone will have a bigger budget than us probably but this is what is going to happen. In one fell swoop the financial restrictions mean we won't be able to sign Andy Carroll from Liverpool because it is too expensive, even if we wanted him, which we do."
Allardyce added: “Somebody will have a bigger budget than us somewhere, but I tell you that is what's going to happen, I might not be able to afford Andy Carroll, full stop, even if I wanted him, even if the chairmen wanted him, even if we all wanted him, which we do, it will not be allowed to happen.''
Allardyce believes the true impact of the new regulations, which have been brought in to try to level the playing field in the top flight, will not be felt for some time.
“I suppose across the board when you first introduce something new the fair/unfair scenario has to get sorted out somewhere along the line to find out how you have to tweak it to make it better,'' he said.
“But if we want Andy Carroll, or any player, and you look at the whole thing, you are going to have to move very quickly now because your budget is going to say that [figure] and you are not allowed to go over that apparently, and because you are not allowed to go over that, you have to say [to the player] 'sorry and off you go', so then it is very difficult to improve your side from last season.''
Information from the Press Association was used in this report