While I've yet to see any credible sources linking the big man to other clubs, the quotes in this article certainly raise some eyebrows, particularly this one:
"I have enjoyed myself in England but it's possible that something interesting will come up."
There's no sense in speculating about the timing of this; I think that most people have expected to see Carew leave Villa Park at some point in the near future since the end of last season, and while Gerard Houllier's arrival may have bumped up the timetable on his departure (if, of course, it ends up happening) I find it hard to believe that it's been the catalyst. While it's nothing more than conjecture on my part, had it not been for the protracted James Milner transfer ordeal, Martin O'Neill's subsequent departure and the lack of healthy strikers on the squad at the time of the closing of the transfer window I would not have been surprised to see Carew shipped out this summer. Now with Emile Heskey's renaissance and Ashley Young's move into a more central attacking role, Carew has fallen firmly into fourth choice territory with youngster Nathan Delfouneso knocking at the door.
Carew turned 31 in September and while he's clearly still capable of playing at a high level, sitting on the bench isn't going to do him any favors. There's likely only one contract in the upper tier of European leagues left in him, and for it to be as lucrative as possible he'll want a chance to showcase his talents. If things stay as they are now, I'd go so far as to say that I would be shocked were he to be with Villa past the January transfer window. And while John Carew is a big part of why I am a Villa supporter today and I have a tremendous amount of affection for him, his leaving would most likely be for the best.
I think that it's fair to say that Big John has been pretty much awful so far this season. Nothing appears to be physically amiss, and it has all of the appearances of an extended run of poor form. But he's clearly not the future, and everything he offers as a target man is present in Emile Heskey to an even greater degree. He's a talented player making a not insignificant amount of money without a real role on the team. The irrational fan in me doesn't want him to go, but my head knows it's probably time. We've spoken often about the need for Villa to shore up the central midfield if they have European aspirations this season, and we've spoken as well of the wage cruch the team are experiencing. Carew still has value to other teams and the club are most likely going to need additional revenue of they wish to make significant changes to the squad. This is simply one of those situations where a parting of ways makes too much sense for both parties to allow sentimentality get in the way.