Daniel Sturridge: Sell, Loan Or Keep?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea reacts during the FA Cup sixth round match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on March 18, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

I am talking a lot about Daniel Sturridge today, apparently. Cool. He's pretty interesting. Everyone else apparently finds him interesting too, because there have been rumours about him moving on this summer. We know he'd rather be playing centre forward at Chelsea than right wing (or sitting on the bench), and we're also pretty sure that he's out of contract at the end of the season*. That means that he's a reasonable candidate to be moved on, and since he's also quite a good player, there are a number of teams who could do with him.

*Some recent reports are claiming he has two years left on his deal, which is strange because he signed a four-year contract three years ago.

So what are our possible options? There are a few, and not all of them are that straightforward.

  • Sell. Ok, this one is pretty straightforward. We could sell Sturridge (I'm thinking it needs to be in the £15 to £20 million range, because we're going to get a significant amount of money from the tribunal if he leaves next summer at the end of his contract). There are few teams that could give him the wages that he wants combined with the fee that he'd command, but I'm reasonably confident that we could find a buyer. This leaves Chelsea incredibly light at the centre forward position, so the transfer fee and wages savings would probably be offset by the cost of an incoming striker.
  • Loan. A loan deal would be a good way of getting Sturridge development time and keeping him happy. He's thrived on loan before, and a loan deal would lower the acquisition cost for teams interested, allowing him to move to a lesser side where there would be more opportunities for a start (see Romelu Lukaku and West Bromwich Albion). However, we're then left with a situation where, upon return from his loan, Sturridge leaves on an expiring contract. About all a good loan spell would do for us is to possibly make for a higher tribunal fee, and we'd still need to spend to replace him.
  • Extend. Alternatively Chelsea could throw more money Sturridge's way and have him sign a new contract. Sturridge would get a raise and the club would get to keep one of England's top striker prospects as backup to Fernando Torres. This is a good move if you think he's a good player with a bright future with us, and a bad one if you think the money we could get for a sale would be better off spent elsewhere.
  • Extend and loan. Like the above, but with a loan deal on top of it. The benefit of sending Sturridge out on loan is that he becomes a better player, which you're weighting against the cost of losing him for most of the season. However, a replacement would have to be brought in, and Chelsea wouldn't be able to use the Sturridge transfer fee to offset the cost of finding a new striker.
  • Do nothing. Also a viable option. If Chelsea think that Sturridge can contribute to the team this year but not beyond it, they might simply not do anything. Remember that players under the age of 24 don't actually leave on free transfers, so Chelsea wouldn't just be setting money on fire here. It's not an elegant option, but this is for those of you who want Sturridge as a backup option for this season and not much else.

And now I turn it over to the community. What should Chelsea do with Daniel Sturridge?

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