Despite injury hampering much of his time at the Hammers, his continued listing on the wage bill has always sparked a debate around his merit to the team.
His lack of football, and his somewhat underwhelming goal return for a £15million price tag, has made many question whether he was a smart signing, given the financial resources required.
And last week when Sam Allardyce confirmed the club’s earlier interest in Wilfried Bony, there were further wistful comments of what might have been.
The Swansea striker has scored more Premier League goals this calendar year than any other player, and has bagged 23 in just under 50 games since his move from Vitesse in July 2013.
Since joining on loan at West Ham a year earlier, Carroll has made just 44 appearances, scoring 11 times.
The fact the Ivory Coast striker was touted generated questions around whether the powers that be at the Boleyn had backed the wrong decision.
Sunday’s game offered fans the chance to compare the powerful centre forwards first-hand and in terms of whether Carroll was the best choice, the jury has to still be out.
Yes, the management and supporters will be living off his two goals (his first of the season) and one assist.
But Bony also did what he does so regularly, and converted a simple striker’s finish, brought about by great movement and positioning.
He was an imposing presence throughout the game at both ends of the pitch, and hit the bar with a chance that could easily have re-established The Swans’ lead.
The big difference, and what any informed decision has to come down to, is simply consistency. Carroll has suffered recurring injuries, and the way he plays means there will forever be weaknesses where those problems have previously been.
Bony has undoubtedly been the more productive influence since arriving, in terms of game time and goals. The weekend’s result does go someway to justifying Carroll was a decision not to regret, but one game cannot define it.
If he breaks down again, there is no doubt Bony’s continued good form will leave a sour taste.