It came from left field but Daniel Sturridge has somehow ended up West Bromwich Albion for the rest of the season. Prior to this point, both Sevilla and Inter Milan had entered and exited the rumor mill as destinations for the prolific Liverpool forward, however, the likely destination had appeared to be with Rafa Benitez and goal-shy Newcastle. The need had been clearly there and the interest concrete, with the ex-Liverpool manager personally heading up negotiations with the injury-plagued striker.
In fact, a loan deal had been so close to being done—wages and fees both agreed—that the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder reported that a Newcastle welcoming committee had been waiting expectantly for Sturridge at the club’s training ground to run a medical. Instead, the enigmatic Liverpool front man made a shocking last minute reversal to join the relegation battling Baggies, reportedly leaving Newcastle and Benitez absolutely livid.
Newcastle were expecting Sturridge to travel north this lunchtime. He hasn’t.— George Caulkin (@CaulkinTheTimes) January 29, 2018
Whispers were that Sturridge had opted for Pulis-ball at the dregs of the table over the 15th-place Magpies because of where Newcastle was geographically in the north of England in comparison to West Brom, which is closer to both London and his hometown of Birmingham. The 28-year-old has adamantly denied the claim, however maintaining that he’s made the decision solely for “footballing reasons,”
“This felt like the right fit,” Sturridge said. “I’ve got friends here I’ve played with before, the manager spoke very well, the challenge with the team and the style of play. I just felt this was the right fit for me.”
The Tynesiders have now been left scrambling to address their lack of production in front of goal with only 48 hours left in the transfer window. Deals for Feyenoord forward, Nicolai Jorgensen and Leicester City’s Islam Slimani have struggled to cross the finish line, while back at Liverpool, forward Danny Ings will now be restricted from leaving on loan himself as a the default 2nd or 3rd choice striker.