It seems a very odd situation indeed where a striker as young and talented as Dan Sturridge could be allowed to leave Chelsea for a fee as modest as £12m but nobody has even raised an eyebrow. When you stop to consider the possible reasons for this total apathy towards him leaving the club, very few immediately spring to mind. He’s young, he’s English, he’s versatile and plainly, in my view at least, more talented than other young forwards playing regularly for their clubs and for England at the moment, Welbeck, Walcott, Chamberlain and Lennon to name four.
You certainly couldn’t point towards his track record if you wanted to argue Sturridge’s quality compared to those names. In his short five month loan spell at Bolton Wanderers in 2011, he scored in 4 consecutive PL games on two separate occasions. Then, when he returned to Chelsea the following year and was stuck out on the right by Andre Villas-Boas, he scored 10 league goals before Christmas. Simply, if you wanted to argue he was unlikely to ever score enough goals for Chelsea as centre-forward then the stats really aren’t on your side.
But, if we’re being honest, I think it is genuinely safe to say that nobody really cares Sturridge has left Chelsea for Liverpool, none of us particularly care we only got £12m for him, we aren’t even really that bothered he said Liverpool are the biggest club he’s played for. I think it’s hard to put into words what the Chelsea fan base thinks of Sturridge. Initially perhaps there were groups of us who didn’t particularly like him, but after last season we’ve gone from a state of mild aversion and lack of respect to one of complete disregard. In his last few weeks as a Chelsea player, even though Fernando Torres was the only fit striker at the club I don’t think I read a single sentence that suggested or implied in the slightest that it’d be nice, or even handy to have Sturridge available again.
The situation raises a number of questions in my head. We know he was never the most selfless player on the pitch but is that a good enough reason to resent a young player as much as we did? Are we actually in a position where we can give up on such a talent so easily because of his attitude? Is that a good thing if we are?
I could think of answers to these questions but they’d all be irrelevant. Ultimately it was obvious the player was never willing to be what we wanted him to be, whilst the club were equally unprepared to let Sturridge play where he wanted to. In all likelihood, if he’d stayed at Chelsea his entire career, he would never have been our first choice #9.
I maintain Sturridge’s talents and contributions to Chelsea were always slightly undervalued, but I suppose things have resolved themselves the way they had to. He’ll be playing in his preferred position finally and in partnership with one of the best players in the world in Luis Suarez. Meanwhile, is there a single Chelsea fan who doesn’t feel our squad is immediately stronger having replaced Sturridge for Demba Ba – with the Senegalese unquestionably being one of the elite goalscorers in the division.
Rumour has it today weave also agreed a deal to sign Brazilian striker Taison from Metalist Kharkiv who we can only hope (if he does sign) will be almost all of the things that Sturridge never was – patient for opportunities, happy to be used as a utility player, munificent with his passing and ambitious to succeed as part of a team, rather than as an individual. Even if he doesn’t have the talent that Daniel had, these attributes will make him 10 times more useful and 10 times easier to like.
I suppose the polite thing to do would be to wish Sturridge luck, but I honestly don’t care if he succeeds at Liverpool and I see no reason why I should. If anybody can think of a reason then please share it…