Daniel Sturridge wants to be on the plane to Russia with the England national team. Strikers with those sorts of wants generally have to score goals—preferably in the double digits—over the course of the season; and to score goals, Sturridge needs to play games.
It’s that final bit of the equation that isn’t quite lining up for the Liverpool front man so far this season, in part due to the infamously horrid injury record that currently has him sidelined with a muscle injury, but mostly due to his position firmly behind Roberto Firmino and possibly even young Dominic Solanke in the center forward pecking order.
This has mattered little to Benitez and the Magpies, who’s abysmal record of 20 strikes in 22 league games so far has seen them desperate for anyone who knows what a goal looks like. Most Favored Nation, Southampton FC are doing even worse with 10 goals in the same number of matches, but according to the Chronicle, Benitez’s reserve of goodwill with Liverpool is said to have put Newcastle in pole position to land the 28-year-old’s signature.
“We are working hard to be ready, but at the moment, I don’t know,” the Benitez admitted recently when questioned regarding transfer negotiations. “It’s an important month for the club, not just this week.”
However, there remains a small matter of Sturridge’s £120,000-a-week salary that is currently a sticking point. Despite sitting in the top half of the Premier League money table, the Tyneside club aren’t quite on Liverpool’s level in the wage games, a position not aided by last season’s stint in the Championship away from the TV money spigots of the top flight.
Ex-Red Jonjo Shelvey is currently the squad’s highest earner on £80,000-a-week, meaning that, although Sturridge is in a class above his prospective teammates to the point of deserving the distinction of topping Newcastles’s wage hiearchy, the gap between that figure and his current wages is still some distance from being met.