LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13: Nicolas Anelka of Chelsea tackles Andre Schurrle of Bayer Leverkusen during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge on September 13, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Since we've been linked to Andre Schurrle, there has been debate about what exactly this would mean to the future of Daniel Sturridge in Chelsea blue. With Daniel Sturridge having only a single year remaining on his deal, this seems like a fair thing to speculate about. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to look at what both bring to the table and see if it really should be 1 or the other.
Sturridge is just over a year older than Schurrle, and stands about an inch and a half taller than the German. They are both fairly similar builds, with Sturridge having a few pounds over the Schurrle. Both have excellent speed, acceleration, and agility. Neither are really noted for their physical play or ability in the air. Seems like having both would be a bit redundant, doesn't it? After the jump I'll get into why I don't feel that's the case.Developmentally, these 2 have had very different backgrounds. Since Danny came onto the scene with Manchester City, he's played primarily in a central role. Last season he was pushed out to the right wing by Chelsea, although that was largely due to a lack of need in the center of the line while having a glaring weakness on the wing. Schurrle, on the other hand, was almost exactly the opposite. He developed primarily as a winger/midfielder, but as he developed physically he was occasionally used as a central attacker in a pinch due to injury/suspension issues.
When you watch Sturridge play, he looks like a guy that developed as a striker. He's clearly looking for a shot more often than not, and he's not very accomplished at picking out crosses and then executing them. His passing in general is well below what you'd expect from a wing at the level Chelsea compete at, likely due to the fact that he's not naturally a winger. He's also got a nasty habit of turning the ball over when he's trying to find a shot or decide on a pass, likely due again to his lack of familiarity with the wing. What he does better than most wings is finish, something that he's likely developed in his time as a striker. This isn't to say these things won't improve, but he still needs experience on the wings if he's going to be a factor in our long term plans there.
Schurrle is quite different. As a more natural winger, Schurrle is far more accomplished as a passer. He's not a world class crosser, but he's not bad either. He plays better through balls than Danny. He's not the same sort of finisher, but he's probably a better long shooter. He's also less prone to turnovers due to holding the ball and much more polished defensively. The fact that he's not indifferent defensively is not necessarily because of any sort of better attitude, but more due to familiarity with the position.
Beyond the physical similarities, these are 2 very different players. Schurrle is a wing that can play centrally in a pinch. Danny is a central player who has been played in a wider position for the last year. What they do well and how they play are largely reflective of this, and because of that it really doesn't have to be one or the other. Chelsea's interest in both Andre Schurrle and Victor Moses doesn't signal to me that they are pondering getting rid of Daniel Sturridge, it signals to me that they see him as a better fit in a more central role. The fact that we haven't had any sort of reliable link to another center forward (as of yet) only strengthens that belief.
The fact that Daniel Sturridge is in the last year of his deal is worrying. That said, if the club feel that Danny would extend, I certainly think there is room for him in the squad even with the possible addition of Moses or Schurrle. As much as many fans seem to think these footballers are all the same kind of players, they really aren't. While Danny may eventually be converted to a more natural winger, his skillset at the moment isn't the same as any of our other potential options on the flanks. There is room in the squad for all of them, especially for a club competing for as many trophies as Chelsea will be next season.