When Liverpool needed to be bailed out from their Andy Carroll mistake, West Ham were there, offering the Reds their best chance of recouping some of the injury-prone English striker’s gargantuan fee. It led to a few jokes in recent weeks amongst Liverpool fans that perhaps the Hammers would decide to take the frustrating Christian Benteke off their hands.
As rumour would have it, though, West Ham are aiming a little higher—and a little more injury-prone. They’re aiming for Daniel Sturridge, and they’re hoping that his injury-prone status means they can get him in just about what they paid for Carroll a few years back. According to the Brentwood Gazette, at least, who claim the East London club have an £18M bid for Sturridge on the table right now.
Their report has since been eagerly repackaged by everyone from the Mirror to the Telegraph, though just how much insight a small paper from a town on the outskirts of London has into West Ham’s dealings remains a significant question mark. At the very least, Brentwood is on the eastern outskirts of London. So there’s that, even if there isn’t much more to suggest their reliability.
Whether there’s any truth to the rumour, though, we are quickly approaching the day Liverpool will have to consider moving on from the injury-prone Sturridge, who has played less than 30% of the games and less than 20% of the minutes for Liverpool since the start of the 2014-15 season. Sturridge may be a phenomenal striker when fit, but having so rarely been fit, the club will eventually move on.
It’s not just the cost of his salary that is problematic if he’s never fit, or his unrealized value that could still be exchanged for a significant fee and reinvested. The fact that the club have spent the past year and a half waiting for his return, holding open the role of number one striker for Sturridge, has been damaging. As long as he’s at the club, there will always be a spot in the team for him when fit.
If he’s never fit, holing that spot open for him rather than making plans and moving on becomes a problem. It might not be this month when the club move on, and rumours of a West Ham bid may be entirely fabricated, but that day is coming. If he ends the 2015-16 season out injured like he began it, it’s hard to imagine it won’t be coming very soon now.