Liverpool, England: Brendan Rodgers welcomed Daniel Sturridge to Anfield with a warning that he is “probably on his last chance” with a major club as Liverpool look to release Joe Cole on a free transfer to West Ham United.
The Reds wasted little time in attempts to correct the mistakes of the last transfer window by securing Sturridge on a £12 million (Dh71.56 million) transfer from Chelsea on Wednesday night. The 23-year-old was not eligible for the 3-0 defeat of Sunderland at Anfield, where he watched from the directors’ box, but could make his Liverpool debut at Mansfield Town in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.
Sturridge, who has signed a long-term contract at Liverpool believed to be in the region of £80,000 a week, has endured frustrating spells at Manchester City and Chelsea and produced the most successful period of his career so far while on loan at Bolton Wanderers.
His move to Anfield hit complications over the demands of his representative, Octagon, for a per centage of any future sell-on fee, while Rodgers declined the opportunity to sign Sturridge for £15m in the summer due to doubts over the striker’s attitude. Subsequent talks with coaches who have worked with the England international, and Sturridge himself, have allayed Rodgers’ concerns.
And the Liverpool manager said: “I’ve known about Daniel since he was about 12. He came through at Manchester City and was regarded as one of the most promising young strikers in European football. He made a move as a young player to Chelsea and it has been difficult. But what he is, is a goalscorer and, when he has played, like at Bolton, he has got goals.
“He will give us power and presence at the top end of the field, but the biggest thing is his hunger to perform. We are bringing in a player who knows he has to perform as he will be playing with one of the biggest clubs in the world. He has got quality. If he wants to stay at the top level, this is probably his last chance. I think he will prove a big hit and give us another attacking thread.”
Liverpool are also in talks over a settlement fee on Cole’s £100,000-a-week contract at Anfield before a proposed free transfer back to West Ham. The former England international had the option to rejoin Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers but, provided a pay-off on the remainder of his contract is agreed, will return to the club where he started his career.
Redknapp confirmed: “I lost a player I tried to sign. He would have been my first signing. He probably thought: ‘I love you, Harry, but you’re not going to stay up.’ So he went to the Hammers. I loved Joe and he would have been good for me. It’s not easy to get players when you are down there [at the bottom of the table]. But Joe grew up at West Ham and I understand why he’s going back there. He’s going back home and I wish him all the best.”