It’s fair to say Daniel Sturridge is now on borrowed time at Liverpool. The 29-year-old, whose contract is up in the summer, is expected to leave Anfield to help resurrect his career.
The former England international has endured another season of inactivity and poor form for the Reds, making just four starts in the Premier League and two in the Champions League.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané are guaranteed starters when fit, and inform forward Divock Origi is preferred ahead of him. But Sturridge won’t be short of offers in the summer.
Here are six contenders to sign him and how likely a move to each side would be.
Mauricio Pochettino is an admirer of Sturridge and could be keen on bringing him to London this summer after his Liverpool contract expires. Spurs are on the look out for another backup striker as they target more firepower.
Available on a free, the 29-year-old wouldn’t worry Harry Kane, but could arrive as the replacement for Fernando Llorente, whose contract is also up in the summer. Jürgen Klopp is believed to be reluctant to give Sturridge a new contract due to injury problems that have blighted his career.
There is no question he still has what it takes at the highest level, and to think he is the man who reached 50 goals for Liverpool in fewer games than Luis Suárez, Michael Owen, Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush, only four seasons ago, Tottenham would have a bargain.
Likelihood rating: 3/10
5. West Ham
Andy Carroll has suffered a lot of injury problems since joining West Ham from Liverpool in 2013. Could another Liverpool forward be set to follow? Sturridge would certainly give Manuel Pellegrini’s side an extra option and one which is worth pursuing.
Marko Arnautović and Javier Hernandez are both being linked with a move away from the London Stadium, meaning West Ham are on the search for a new target man. Maxi Gomez of Celta Vigo has been linked with a move to East London, but with Tottenham also keen, a fee of £43.5m to active his release clause would be needed.
Sturridge would be the more feasible option and the fact he has proven Premier League experience and will be available on a free, means the Hammers should strike whilst the iron is hot.
Likelihood rating: 5/10
4. New York City
It remains to be seen whether Sturridge would swap Merseyside for the Bronx and join the bright lights in New York City. It has been rumoured that he could replace David Villa who left the club to join Vissel Kobe in Japan.
Should the Birmingham born striker want to get involved in Major League Soccer, he like Villa, could also leave an indelible mark on the club’s short history. The fact Sturridge has Premier League pedigree must make him an attractive option.
Romanian Alexandru Mitriță, Libyian Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Brazilian Héber are the only recognised strikers amongst the New York ranks, suggesting it could be likely for a well known figure in Sturridge, to join the club this summer.
Likelihood rating: 5/10
Rangers will no doubt be in the market for reinforcements this summer as they look to overhaul their current squad ahead of the new campaign and pip Celtic to the Scottish title. Steven Gerrard has made it clear his side need more firepower and Sturridge could be the perfect answer.
Alfredo Morelos is target for a number of clubs around Europe following his impressive displays for the Scottish side, despite Rangers and Gerrard keen for the Colombian international to remain at Ibrox. Kyle Lafferty is excepted to leave, meaning Jermaine Defoe is the only recognised striker amongst the pack.
The idea of playing under former teammate Gerrard could well be factor in Sturridge’s decision should he decide to swap Anfield for Ibrox, but should he make the move North of the border, it would certainly send signals to say Rangers are back in the big time.
Likelihood rating: 5/10
Sturridge played under Rafael Benitez during the Spaniard’s brief spell at Chelsea. The Newcastle boss will be on the look out for firepower and the Liverpool is alternative to Salomón Rondón.
The Venezuela international striker made 30 starts and two substitute appearances in the Premier League for the Magpies this season, netting on 11 occasions. But know doubt Newcastle will face a number of suitors for his signature, meaning they may have turn their attentions to Sturridge.
His his £120,000-a-week wages could prove a stumbling block for Benitez’s side, but should Ayoze Pérez leave St.James Park this summer, Sturridge could well and truly be on the move.
Likelihood rating: 6/10
1. Leicester City
Leicester seems the most likely destination for the former England international. Brendan Rodgers played a crucial role in helping Sturridge during the Northern Irishman’s time at Anfield. On a free transfer, it is a no brainer for the Foxes, who could partner Sturridge with Jamie Vardy next season.
The peak of his career was undoubtedly the 2013/14 campaign under Rodgers, when Sturridge netted 21 goals in 26 appearances in a injury free season, whilst trying to guide Liverpool towards a Premier League title triumph.
With Shinji Okazaki on his way out and Vardy along with Kelechi Iheanacho, the only two strikers left at the club, Sturridge may just get the game time he needs and wants at this stage of his career. As Leicester chase European football next season, they should look no further than the Liverpool man.
Likelihood rating: 7/10