Search For A Stoke City Star – Daniel Sturridge

With the international break now over most football journalists will, if they haven’t already, try to justify their paycheques by speculating on who will be going where during the upcoming transfer window. In keeping with this tradition I will be giving you my run down on the players who are being linked with a move to the Bet365. First up:

Daniel Sturridge

sturridge

Current Club: Liverpool

Position: Centre Forward

Possible Price – 28 million pounds

Anybody else interested: West Ham / Spurs

Giraffe or Lemon:  A Lemon for his club, a change of scenery may just turn him into a Giraffe (at least until he gets injured)

Where Would He Fit In:

An interesting one. Sturridge is a different type of forward to Wilfried Bony and prefers running onto the ball rather than holding up to allow his midfielders to run past him. Whilst, when fit, a genuine twenty goal a season player, his introduction would require a change of approach from probably Stoke’s three best players this season, Arnie, Shaqiri and Joe Allen.

Do We Need Him:

Yes. With Wilfried and Mame off to the African Nations we need a top class striker in the short term and Wilfried’s loan isn’t turned into a loan deal then a goal scorer jumps to the top of Stoke’s wich list once more.

Who’s place would be under threat:

All of Stoke’s front men. Wilfried’s chance of a permanent deal would likely go out of the window whilst Super Jon and Two Meter Peter’s Stoke careers must surely be coming to close.

Verdict: The ideal scenario would be to bring Sturridge in on loan until the end of the season which would allow the club and the player to assess each other. However, if Liverpool are only willing to consider a permanent deal, the quoted 28 million is still not a lot in today’s market and could be deemed worth a point. My only concern would be the effect changing the way Stoke play would have on the rest of the forward line.

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Giraffes and Lemons – A Third of the Season Gone

Although not quite a third of the way through the season, the recent international break gives us a chance to look back at the matches which have been played so far and highlight some of the players who have stood out for each club. Here are my thoughts on who has stood tall so far this season, based on the matches I have watched and a couple who have perhaps not done as well as may have been expected.

As always let me know your thoughts and feel free to tell me if you think I have got your club’s star player wrong:

Bournemouth

Giraffe

Adam Smith – An attacking full back who is surely destined for a bigger club as more and more begin to flirt with playing three at the back.

Arsenal

Giraffe

Alexis Sanchez – Has been the reason for much of Arsenal’s good play this season but a word of warning, the Chilean does run hot and cold

Lemon

Arsene Wenger – Another transfer window where he failed to deliver that world class player, Xhaka may turn out to be a star turn but Arsenal need help for Sanchez and Co more than they need defensive minded reinforcements

Burnley

Giraffe

Tom Heaton – If Burnley are to survive it will be because of their shot stopper

Chelsea

Giraffe

Marcos Alonso – Brought to the club so that Conte can play the system he wants to. With three at the back the Spaniard has the freedom to roam forward and is one of Chelsea’s most unheralded attacking options.

Lemon

Gary Cahill – Calamity waiting to happen at times and it sums up his season so far when David Luiz isn’t winning this award

Crystal Palace

Giraffe

Steve Mandanda – Looks to be a class act and could end up being one of the best bits of business done by any club in the last transfer window.

Everton

Giraffe

Yannick Bolaise – Although Lukaku has stolen the headlines with his goals the Congolese international has been the one to provide most of the big Belgian’s bullets.

Hull City

Giraffe

Curtis Davies – I have a feeling by the end of the season Hull will be relegated and Michael Dawson will be winning this award but Davies was immense in August and is largely responsible for the club having the points they have.

Lemon

The Board – There prevaricating over the appointment of Mike Phelan as their new manager was nothing short of a fiasco and, even though as a result they may have saved themselves some money in the short term, their dithering cost them the chance to bring in the players they needed to give them a chance of staying up.

Leicester City

Giraffe

Islam Slimani – With Vardy misfiring the Algerian has looked at times the only likely source of goals.

Lemon

Riyad Mahrez – Should Leicester have sold him in the summer? Surely the longer he takes to recover last season’s form the more his value drops. I would be tempted to get what I could for the Algerian in the January transfer window.

Liverpool

Giraffe

Roberto Firmino – Whilst many would argue this should have gone to his fellow Brazilian midfielder I feel Firmino produces more consistently and is a greater threat

Lemon

Daniel Sturridge – Perhaps more a statement of England’s place in the international game when one of their star strikers shouldn’t really be on his club’s bench based on his Liverpool showings this season.

Manchester City

Giraffe

Fernandinho – With both his centre halves and his goalkeeper being real contenders for the Lemon of the year Fernandinho’s contribution cannot be underestimated. Sitting in front of a disaster waiting to happen the Brazilian has been City’s real foundation.

Nolito – Could have gone to any of City’s back line but the Spanish winger gets the nod simply for the stupidity he regularly shows when over reacting to tackles. Expect at least one more red card this season.

Manchester United

Giraffe

Zlatan – Might have gone through a goal drought but his hard work and all round game brings out the best in those around him. A consummate professional.

Lemon

Marcus Rashford – After bursting onto the scene has been less than average ever since the Stoke game. Fans will need to remember he is young and not get angry when Jose takes him out of the firing line for his own good. Could still be one for the future though.

Middlesbrough

Giraffe

Aitor Karanka – Has overseen Middlesbrough’s return to the Premiership with quiet efficiency

Lemon

Alvaro Negrado – After a goal scoring debut against Stoke, naturally, has failed to produce consistently enough and would be surprised if his loan is made permanent

Southampton

Giraffe

Virgil Van Dijk – I expect the Dutchman to be the next to head through the door marked exit. Truly good all round defender

Stoke City

Giraffe

Geoff Cameron – Has Clumsy finally found his position? Could he be the long term answer to Glenda? His move to central defensive midfielder has been one of the main reasons for Stoke’s upturn in fortune

Lemon

Erik Pieters – Showed signs against West Ham that he may be returning to his best form but has been responsible for too many goals this season

Sunderland

Giraffe

Jordan Pickford – Everybody’s fantasy football goalkeeper. Has been putting in man of the match performances every week and has had to.

Lemon

Jack Rodwell – Once the future of the English game, now looks out of his depth in a team destined for relegation.

Tottenham Hotspur

Giraffe

Victor Wanyama – A tank of a man who shields probably the best back four in the Premiership with consummate ease.

Lemon

Vincent Janssen – A flop since his big money summer transfer

Watford

Giraffe

Jose Holebas – Has been a revelation this season under Mazzari and even scored a stunner against Middlesbrough

Lemon

The Pozzo Family – Whilst Mazzari looks like keeping the Hornets in the Premiership will this be enough for the owners who seem to expect the club to be challenging for honours. The debacle over allegedly forged bank letters could also come back to haunt the club.

West Bromwich Albion

Giraffe

Nacer Chadli – Tony Pulis buying an out and out flair player and playing him regularly, stranger things have happened in football but not often. The Belgian clearly had a point to prove and at the moment is proving it.

Lemon

Saido Berahino – Is he still playing football? Apparently overweight and unfit I still fear Hughes will try and sign the England player when the transfer window opens in January.

West Ham United

Giraffe

Michail Antonio – Already scored five goals this season and looks a threat no matter where he plays, and he has played almost everywhere. What chance ninety minutes in goal before the end of the season?

Lemon

Simone Zaza – The best bit of transfer business West Ham could do in January would be to persuade someone to buy the Italian flop before they are forced to fork out for overrated striker.

Pain and Real Pain

Daniel Sturridge has to learn what is serious pain and what is just pain.

The above has been repeated many times in the twelve months since Jurgen Klopp revealed his frustration with his star striker’s continued unavailability due to, what Sturridge perceived to be, injury. Reading between the lines of Klopp’s interview it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume Sturridge was having difficulty adapting to his new manager’s training regime, which involved something called hard work.

In today’s modern game footballers are the prize assets of any football club and they know it. If a club’s star striker or defensive lynchpin were to get injured the consequences for the club may mean the difference between a place in Europe or relegation the second tier. However, as in Sturridge’s case, modern day players need to be wary when they decide their bodies are not up to playing two matches a week or that little niggle is sufficient reason to skip a mid-week game at the Bet365. Since Klopp made his statement on Sturridge the England man has hardly appeared for his club and if he were to move away from Anfield, the club playing at that windy Bet365 stadium may the best option available to him.

After this weekend’s match against Swansea, Jose Mourinho laid into Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling when both of the England defenders declared they were not 100% and therefore couldn’t play against the Welshmen. I would expect Manchester United have some of the bets medical staff in world sport and it would be these people who Mourinho would consult with to determine what players are available for selection.

To then hear from the players in question they are not fit to play must then be frustrating to Mourinho and I can fully understand his outburst but will the players understand if Mourinho decides to act on what he clearly believes to be a lack of character. With a transfer window coming up how much would you bet that a new centre half and left back are top of Mourinho’s wish list? And if these players do materialize what then for Shaw and Smalling? Do they stay and warm the bench as they watch other English players oust them from the national team or do they seek a move elsewhere?

And if they were put on the transfer market would any of the big boys want to gamble on players who now have a reputation of being whiners? I doubt it. So that leaves that club playing at a wet and windy Bet365 but whilst I would take Sturridge and possibly Luke Shaw, do we really need Smalling when we have our own Captain Fantastic and the Beast? Maybe, but only if it was to keep Hughes company on the bench!