Sturridge 'a gamble'
Shaun Custis told The Supplement the jury's out on whether Daniel Sturridge could cut it at Liverpool.
Last Updated: 24/12/12 1:58pm
Liverpool will be taking a gamble if they go through with the signing of Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge, says The Sun's Shaun Custis.
The 23-year-old, who has made only seven league appearances for the Blues this season, appears on the brink of moving to Anfield for a fee believed to be between £10m-12m.
Former Manchester City striker Sturridge has worked under four managers at Chelsea - Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto di Matteo and now Rafael Benitez.
And Custis told The Sunday Supplement the fact that Sturridge, capped four times by England, has not made a substantial impression at Stamford Bridge should make Liverpool wary.
"He's leaving Chelsea because he'd like to play down the middle," said Custis. "He also doesn't get regular games. Brendan Rodgers has shown a lot of faith in him and that he is wanted there. Sturridge's agents have been prepared to shelve their demands to a certain extent to allow the move to happen, which is good of them!
"But the honest truth is we don't know if it will be a success because he's been one of those players who has oozed potential for a long, long time but we don't see enough of him. He doesn't play enough full games.
"We thought it might happen for him at Man City, and again at Chelsea and now he's moving again. That's three big clubs now and this one has got to work.
"We've just about stopped calling him 'Dean' - that is a measure of how he hasn't quite established himself yet because his uncle, who played for Derby County , is still the one who even now may be better known as a footballer and that's ridiculous because Daniel Sturridge actually has a lot of skill.
"Mentally, I don't know if he's attuned himself properly to what he wants, how he wants to play, who he wants to play for, what suits him best.
"It's a bit of a 'Theo Walcott situation' in the sense that [he seems to be saying] 'I know play wide on the right of a three but I want to play down the middle and I can do it' and the manager goes 'well, convince me' and he hasn't been able to do that yet.
"What is the problem with playing right of a three behind a striker as well because it seems to me now in the modern game that you get a lot of chances to cut in or move out wide; you get quite a lot of freedom as well but suddenly everybody goes that's a 'second-class position'. It's not like you're stuck on the touchline and not getting the ball."
He added: "This is a mark of where Liverpool are, that it's Sturridge they're going for. Will Liverpool fans be happy? They know they are not going to get the top, top player or pay top, top money anymore so this is probably the type of player you go for - one who might come off and might take you to the next level, but it's a gamble."
Matt Dickinson of The Times says Sturridge's agents have been willing to make compromises on the player's terms - possibly even dropping a special clause in the contract saying Sturridge has to play centre forward - in order to get the deal through.
"I can't remember ever hearing about a clause that says 'I must be left-wing, or I must have the back page every day'," he said. "It's not how the world should work and you'd be tempted to throw Sturridge out of the talks there and then, to be honest.
"But he has got potential and clearly the agents clearly decided, sensibly, to drop some of their demands.
"I'm sure they've settled for less pay than they would've hoped for. The fact is that Liverpool haven't had Champions League income for a long time; they are not paying top-four wages anymore.
"So Sturridge's agents have had to make some compromises but that's to get first-team football.
"Every fan would desperately hope that if you're a footballer you want to play football and you want to be starting all of the time. That must be Sturridge's ambition now.
"Liverpool is still a big club and this move can be a success for all parties."