LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea celebrates with his teammate Ashley Cole of Chelsea after Sturridge scored the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on October 15, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
And the transfer deadline dominos begin to fall. Liverpool are looking to forget about the ill-fated purchase of Andy Carroll eighteen months ago, and they've now dumped the big forward on West Ham United with a season-long loan deal. I actually think that's quite a good move for the Hammers -- you'd expect Carroll to thrive on the Sam Allardyce style of play -- but that's not the point of this post.
This is the point of this post:
We all know enough to realise that 'Sky Sports understands' doesn't mean a whole lot, but I thought it was worth talking about a possible departure for Daniel Sturridge and address the Liverpool rumours specifically. Here's the deal with Sturridge -- his contract is set to expire at the end of the season, but if it does he would not actually leave Chelsea on a free. Instead, thanks to his age, the deal would go to a tribunal, who would set a fee for the 22-year-old.
Considering that this same process played out when we acquired him from Manchester City and Sturridge ended up costing Chelsea something in the range of £6.5 million three years ago, I'd have to guess we'd be looking at a tribunal deal worth somewhere between £10 and £15 million if we let Sturridge leave for 'free' at the end of the season. That means that there's not much incentive for Chelsea to let him go on the cheap right now.
Furthermore, there's the issue that the club has no strikers. Fernando Torres is doing well to start the season, and I like Sturridge as a backup, but beyond those two you end up with... Patrick Bamford and Islam Feruz. Those two aren't going to play this year, and that means that if Sturridge left, that would mean we were one Torres injury away from playing Eden Hazard as a false nine.
So there are two strong disincentives for Chelsea to sell Sturridge, on top of him being a rather promising (if currently flawed) young player. Is there a situation in which a Sturridge to Liverpool deal might happen? Yes.
There are two requirements. The first is Liverpool having money, which at last look they didn't. They've earned something like £4 million from the Carroll loan deal, which means that they could cover this season assuming a Sturridge sale is amortised. I'd guess -- and this is a guess -- that that's not what Brendan Rodgers was talking about whne he said he'd have to sell to buy. If I'm right, they'll need another pretty major outgoing name in order to afford Sturridge.
The second is that Chelsea buy a first-team striker. I'd consider this unlikely as well, but the options are out there. Edinson Cavani could be ours for the cool sum of €55 million. A huge offer might be enough to tempt Atletico Madrid to give up Radamel Falcao. It could happen (and would make for an insane final day).
But those two combined... well, that looks pretty unlikely. And so I'm not buying any of the Sturridge transfer stuff. There's just no need for Chelsea to get rid of him on the cheap right now.