Luis Suarez has departed for Barcelona. Loic Remy failed his medical. Fabio Borini is being aggressively courted by Gus Poyet. Rickie Lambert is not under any pressure to score goals. Despite reinforcements being added to previously understaffed positions, the Liverpool's striker spot remains a source of concern for many, and Daniel Sturridge’s recent declaration of intent to learn a new language has only fuelled the fire.
Who knows of a spanish Tutor or wants to teach me? I know a little but not enough... Help a brother out!!!— Daniel Sturridge (@D_Sturridge) August 14, 2014
Hypersensitive fans used to their favourite Spanish-speaking strikers leaving for greener, more competitive pastures immediately interpreted this as a blatant sign that Sturridge was obviously seeking a move to Barcelona. Or Real Madrid. Or Arsenal (the Argentinean one). Sturridge is giving fans clues, you see, so they can prepare themselves emotionally for his inevitable departure.
Or the player might just be learning Spanish in order to communicate better with his teammates, given the influx of Spanish talent that has arrived on Merseyside this summer to complement the existing cadre of Spanish-speakers in the squad. Someone has to take Luis Suarez’s place at Monopoly night, after all.
The controversy, if we can even call it that, speaks to the larger topic of the insular nature of English football for English players. Few players ever leave their home country to play abroad in general, let alone at the peak of their careers. With many pundits and fans perpetually trapped in outdated and often xenophobic ideas of what English football entails, it’s unsurprising that a player’s interest in learning a second language is met first and foremost with suspicion.