I remember very well the first time I heard the name Daniel Sturridge. I was sitting in the 6th form common room having my usual debate and conversation with my friend Jack, a die-hard Manchester City fan (before the takeover) who was ranting and raving about the endless talents that this man had.
He was going to be the catalyst for change at City, along with the likes of Stephen Ireland and Michael Johnson. Things changed, obviously, as City went on to sign Robinho, Aguero, Tevez and conquer England last season.
Sturridge had moved on, signing for Chelsea, on a four-year-contract in 2009. It was with Bolton Wanderers however that he finally started to make a significant impact, netting eight times in 12 appearances and the future seemed his for the taking. Now at 23 the forward faces a massive crossroads in his career.
While he has been linked by some sources with a £15 million move in January, which seems unlikely if the other rumours of a summer expiry date to his contract are true.
So where will he go?
Arsene Wenger has been linked with the player who could fit into his footballing philosophy and would have England team-mates by his side with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere also with The Gunners.
Liverpool moved to bring in Sturridge during the transfer window but left it too late to complete a deal. Brendan Rodgers reportedly wants to bring him in as they suffer with a striker shortage at the club, and a loan-deal with a view to a pre-contract agreement is a plausible idea.
Andre Villas-Boas was a believer in Sturridge’s talents; that is clear by the amount of game time he offered the nephew of Derby County legend Dean. The AVB factor could act as a huge incentive for Sturridge who knows the Portuguese is a manager who believes in his talents and therefore may offer him more opportunities on the field of play.
None of the above?
He could avoid the lure of these times and go back to being a big fish in a slightly smaller pond like he was at Bolton Wanderers. The Brummy-born lad could return to his first club Aston Villa.
Newcastle United could also pursue his signature. He has made his desire to be an out-and-out striker very clear in recent months and he may opt for a club that can offer him that indefinitely rather than the three options, all of whom currently play with a 4-3-3 system that could see Sturridge playing from out wide.
But where do you think Daniel Sturridge should go?
image: © Sorren Lissner