HE has issued the “come and get me” plea – but will anyone take the gamble on forgotten man Daniel Sturridge?
The free agent said he has unfinished business on these shores and is pining for a return to the Prem.
Sturridge had his Trabzonspor contract torn up in March over betting breaches[/caption]
With 105 goals to his name in England, it is surely a no-brainer that someone will take the plunge.
But when it comes to Sturridge, life is never that simple.
His contract with Turkish side Trabzonspor was ripped up in March after he was hit with a four-month ban for breaching betting rules.
After 21 goals for Liverpool took them agonisingly close to the title in 2014, it has been a dramatic fall from grace for the ex-England striker.
Injury after injury has stalled a career that promised so much.
And now in last-chance saloon, Sturridge yesterday announced his comeback, putting Prem sides up and down the country on red alert.
But with question marks over his fitness and character lingering, will he get his wish?
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Sturridge said: “We have options around the world but I’m an English player and I’ve always loved playing in the Premier League.
“I believe I’ve got a lot to give to the Premier League and I would say that’s my first choice.
“I do feel I have unfinished business so I would like to go back and play there.
“I’m open to playing in other leagues, it’s not just the Premier League I’m going to consider, but to come back to England and give my best would be a huge option for me.”
Sturridge’s goals nearly steered Liverpool to the title in 2014[/caption]
With the coronavirus pandemic causing mayhem to clubs’ finances, Sturridge could be the beneficiary.
Everyone is on the lookout for a bargain, and given the proven Prem goalscorer is available for zilch, the rewards could well outweigh the risk.
He has not kicked a ball in anger since February but insists he is ready to rock having put the hard yards in at his Los Angeles home.
Turning 31 next month, his reputation for spending more time in the physio room than on the grass may put a few chairmen off.
So will there be much interest?
Aston Villa were keen in January and will surely revisit it given they are still in dire need of a proven striker.
And Sturridge could be just the tonic for Newcastle.
Sturridge won 26 England caps and was part of the 2014 World Cup team[/caption]
Steve Bruce is desperate for more firepower after £40million Joelinton’s woeful first season – and is on the lookout for a freebie or two after the Saudi Arabian takeover collapsed.
West Ham look another natural fit, as do goal-shy Crystal Palace.
And while any potential suitors will be cautious, Sturridge is adamant he is far from done.
He added: “I’m very excited, I’m hungrier than ever and I’m totally focused on the next chapter.
“I’d like to think I’m one of the better options for teams.
“I’m a free agent and I’ve played for a lot of top clubs around the world.
“I’m just ready to help a team be successful and to be a big part of their plans.
“I believe there’s a lot left in these legs. Although I’ve been around a long time, I would say that there’s miles on the clock but this vehicle has a lot left.”
With the world at his feet under Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp was never fully convinced.
A loan to West Brom in January 2018 hardly reignited his career – his 77 minutes at the Hawthorns costing them a staggering £50,000 a minute.
And it was at this time his world came crashing down.
Sturridge was fined £75,000 and banned for six weeks, four of which were suspended, for telling his brother to bet on him signing for Sevilla.
But things got worse when the FA appealed the punishment, doubling his fine and upgrading it to a four-month worldwide ban in March.
Sturridge was furious, arguing players should be able to speak freely to relatives.
Just eight months into a three-year deal in Turkey, Trabzonspor immediately terminated his contract.
Sturridge’s rollercoaster career
IT has been quite a ride since Sturridge made his Man City debut in 2006/07…
WINS the League and FA Cup double in 2010. And goes on to lift the Champions League for the Blues after a famous victory over Bayern Munich in 2012.
RECEIVES first England call-up in November 2011, making his debut as a second-half substitute against Sweden under Fabio Capello.
PREMIER LEAGUE names Sturridge in its 2013-14 Premier League team of the year after almost leading Liverpool to the league title with 21 league goals.
SCORES last-minute winner for England at Euro 2016 against rivals Wales.
CLAIMS his second Champions League medal as Liverpool beat Spurs in 2019 — the first Englishman to win the competition with two different English clubs.
SUFFERS Olympic heartache after missing a crucial penalty in the London 2012 quarter-finals shootout. The game finished 1-1 after extra-time and Sturridge’s misplaced spot-kick saw South Korea win 5-4 on penalties to knock out Team GB.
HIT with a six-week ban in July 2019 for breaching betting rules amid a potential move to Sevilla
A TOTAL of EIGHT injuries during his first season with Turkish side Trabzonspor sees him miss 16 games.
FA successfully appeals against the findings of an independent commission and striker is handed a global four-month ban from football and £150,000 fine for betting breaches in March 2020.Trabzonspor terminates his contract.
Having now served his time Sturridge, who also had spells at Manchester City, Chelsea and Bolton, is back.
He is hardly in a strong position to demand a bumper pay packet given his age, fitness record and recent rap sheet.
But if that knack in front of goal remains, snapping him up on a free could prove a masterstroke.