The Newcastle United fans here in the Transfer Tavern really are breathing a sigh of relief. While their January transfer window dragged at times, the sight of Daniel Sturridge going off injured just a few minutes into only his third game for West Bromwich Albion has our resident Geordies believing they’ve dodged a bullet.
When the Baggies beat the Toon Army to the signing of the England international striker just before deadline day, there was a meltdown on Tyneside. However, the Liverpool ace may not be the best man to rely on in a relegation scrap, especially for a side like Newcastle.
Sturridge, on talent alone, is the best striker in the bottom half of the Premier League with ease. Indeed, when the 28-year-old is fit and firing, arguably only Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero are better than him, though the former Chelsea and Man City prodigy doesn’t seem suited to be the man spearheading the attack.
Newcastle, who ended up signing more of a target man in Islam Slimani, would have been ready to crown Sturridge as their new saviour. The injury-prone forward would have been given hero status pretty much straight away and expected to carry an otherwise fairly toothless frontline, not something you’d imagine would have gone fairly well with his current physical state.
Furthermore, West Brom are now weakened. Though Sturridge’s most recent ailment may not be as bad as initially feared, the Baggies will now need to manage him carefully as they bid to beat the drop, rendering his signing almost pointless at this stage of the season.
While losing out on a much-needed signing to Alan Pardew of all people may have been gutting at the time, Pardiola’s decision to sign him and not even consider a move for Slimani or another forward more suited to a relegation battle may relegate West Brom and help keep Newcastle up.