When this January Newcastle and Mike Ashley opted to sell star striker Andy Carroll for £35 million the first thing that the Newcastle fans pondered was who was going to replace the English powerhouse. At first Ashley tried to remedy the situation with the short term signing of Shefki Kuqi who finished the season with 6 league appearances resulting in 0 goals. Thus, this summer it became the most frequent question on Tyneside, who was going to replace Carroll in the Newcastle attack?
Newcastle have signed Demba Ba from West Ham United in something of a coup considering the striker scored 7 goals from 12 appearances for the relegated Irons. Following this signing there have been a multitude of discussions and rumours regarding another striker joining Newcastle, with names such as Gervinho and Nicklas Bendtner mentioned. However, for this article we will look at the plausibility of Daniel Sturridge moving to St James’ Park from Chelsea.
Daniel Sturridge is a very confident young man, you don’t join Chelsea with the ambition of ousting the likes of Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda without being very self-assured. Sturridge has had to be happy at Chelsea with playing a peripheral role to the aforementioned superstars, as his tally of 26 league appearances (1 goal) in 2 years attests to.
Sturridge then agreed to join Bolton on loan in January of this year, in a similar fashion to Jack Wilshere the year before. The results have been remarkably similar, under Owen Coyle’s tutelage both these England stars gained confidence and enjoyed plenty of games and plaudits. Sturridge finished the season at Bolton with 8 goals from his 12 league games, showing the kind of ability and confidence that allowed the young England striker to rise through the ranks of Manchester City and earn a move to Premier League giants Chelsea.
So, would Newcastle and Daniel Sturridge be a match made in heaven? Sturridge has made it clear that he feels he has outgrown being a substitute at Stamford Bridge, stating in May that: “I want to play first-team football regularly for Chelsea but if the chances don’t come then I will have to try and look elsewhere. I do want to play regularly here but for me, next season, it’s very important to play first-team football. I don’t want to say I’m going to leave the club and whatever Chelsea decide it’s not for me to make that decision – the only decision I can make is I want to play first-team football.”
Newcastle can certainly offer the first team football that Sturridge so craves, with competition from the mediocre Shola Ameobi, Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands and the incoming Demba Ba. Sturridge would thrive with the service at St James’ Park, with Ba or more likely Hatem Ben Arfa as the support striker the perfect foil. But it seems unlikely that Sturridge will join Pardew at Newcastle, though, with Chelsea seemingly keeping him in their long term plans.
Yet I would argue that performing week in and week out in front of the ‘Toon Army’, with 52,000 strong cheering, Sturridge would thrive and become the player he has the talent to be. It looks likely that Sturridge will stay at Chelsea, and that Newcastle would baulk at the transfer fee and wages, yet you can’t help but think that a move to Newcastle United would be a mutually beneficial relationship.
Written by George McNeil
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