When Daniel Sturridge burst back onto the English footballing landscape during his loan spell at Bolton in 2011, he looked like a real star for the future and a potential key player at Chelsea for years to come.
However, how quickly times change, it seems the England youngsters days are numbered under Roberto Di Matteo’s regime at Chelsea as the striker hasn’t started a Premier League game yet this season.
Under Andre Villas Boas, Sturridge was one of Chelsea’s top performers but since the arrival of Di Matteo he has fallen out of favour and with the form of Fernando Torres it is looking less and less likely that he is part of the blues revolution (link).
Chelsea are willing to let Sturridge leave for £15million in January, but who is willing to stump up the cash and give Sturridge what he wants and a chance to show what he can do?
The England striker has undoubted talent and a decent goalscoring record in the Premier League with 25 goals in 87 games, but it’s his insistence of playing through the middle regularly and his moments of selfishness in front of goal that have perhaps seen him frozen out at Chelsea.
There have been rumours linking him with a move to Arsenal, but surely the gunners already have enough attacking options without adding Sturridge to the mix with Podolski, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Gervinho, Arshavin and Chamakh.
There are more likely destinations out there for Sturridge, clubs that he would fit into and Managers that admire his talent.
These are Sturridge’s three most likely destinations;
Everybody knows about the striking crisis at Anfield and Sturridge could be the answer to Brendan Rodgers’ problems. Slotting in up front in the absence of Suarez or playing out wide, he would give the reds some much needed versatility in attack and not to mention a more potent goal threat than Borini. With a price tag of £15million it might just blow the managers budget but he would be getting a promising player that knows how to find the net in the Premier League, Sturridge would be a great signing for Liverpool.
2. Tottenham Hotspur
Although Jermaine Defoe has been in sparkling form this season for Spurs, AVB’s squad could still do with some bolstering in attack. With only Defoe and Adebayor as out and out strikers, Sturridge could add something different to the mix whether it’s playing on the right and cutting in on his left foot or playing through the middle in place of Defoe.
The Spurs manager was certainly fond of him in his time at Chelsea as he scored 9 league goals before Christmas last season and was a key player in AVB’s team before he was sacked in March. AVB may already have his targets set on a playmaker in January but the striker would be a nice little addition for Spurs and Sturridge himself may fancy it more as he will not have to relocate.
Probably the most unlikely of the three possible destinations for Sturridge, but if other things happen in the transfer market then this move could open up nicely. The Demba Ba contract tussle at Newcastle seems to be leaning towards his exit rather than an agreement so Sturridge could become a prime target of Pardews come January.
The Chelsea striker could add some frightening pace to the Newcastle attack and if Ba goes he is almost certain to be a first choice alongside Cisse. Sturridge has been linked with the magpies in the past and could be a real star on Tyneside, although the asking price could be a sticking point for Newcastle as £15million could be out of their price range. However, with the money from the potential Ba sale along with some extra funding then Pardew could be persuaded to battle for his signature.
A lot can still happen between now and January, but providing the Fernando Torres stays injury free and Sturridge is still floundering on the bench then any of these clubs could make a move in the next window. If I had to put my money on a destination now I would probably say Liverpool, but if the reds decide to sign Ba instead then the whole situation could change. One thing is for sure, however, that the January transfer window could be very exciting indeed.