Chelsea to launch January spending spree as striker Daniel Sturridge heads to Liverpool for £12m

Radamel Falcao heads Rafael Benitez's list of transfer targets as £12m sale will leave club with only one centre-forward

Chelsea are preparing the way for their January transfer spending by selling striker Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool for £12m.

The move will leave Rafael Benitez, who is keen to provide Fernando Torres with more support, with just one recognised centre-forward.

The interim manager confirmed last night he will discuss transfer targets with the club's hierarchy later this week and a move for Atletico Madrid's coveted goalscorer Radamel Falcao is highly likely. The departing Sturridge should sign for Liverpool in the first two weeks of the window next month. The 23-year-old has only started two Chelsea games all season.

His last appearance was in the 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion a month ago, which was Roberto Di Matteo's last domestic game as Chelsea manager.

Benitez has not used Sturridge once since his arrival. At his press conference yesterday, the Spaniard admitted there were "conversations with different options" for Sturridge's future. The player's chosen destination is Anfield.

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, is keen to add to his flimsy striking resources. Luis Suarez is the club's only fit senior centre-forward after Andy Carroll was loaned to West Ham United but not replaced, to Rodgers' frustration.

Summer signing Fabio Borini broke his foot in October and the responsibility given to Raheem Sterling, 18, has been greater than Rodgers had hoped through necessity – he has already started 17 games.

Two weeks ago, when Suarez was suspended, young midfielder Jonjo Shelvey started at centre-forward against West Ham.

Rodgers also hopes to sign Blackpool's 20-year-old winger Tom Ince in January, 16 months after Liverpool sold him to the Championship club.

If Sturridge goes, the pressure will increase on Chelsea to buy new strikers. They are almost as limited in their options as Liverpool, with only one fit senior forward, Torres, who is not anywhere near the form of Suarez.

Beyond the Spaniard, they only have Victor Moses, signed in the summer from Wigan Athletic, but he has mainly been used on the wing.

Benitez confirmed yesterday that after tonight's game with Leeds United in the Capital One Cup, but before the opening of the transfer window, he would have time to discuss transfer targets with the club hierarchy.

"We have time before January," Benitez said when asked when he would be planning the club's strategy for new signings. "We have just arrived home [from Japan] yesterday and then [we have] another game. Hopefully we have two or three days after this game, and then we have plenty of time. We are still working, the people in charge are working, and we will talk about names."

Benitez's chief ally will be Michael Emenalo, the technical director. "We can chat every day," he said. "So Michael is watching the training sessions and we talk about players, the team and what we need. I know what he likes, he knows what I like. It is just about agreeing."

Chelsea may well pursue Falcao, the third top-scorer La Liga with 14 goals already this season.

Benitez may also decide to recruit in central midfield. Chelsea's options are limited there too, with Oriol Romeu injured, John Obi Mikel suspended and Frank Lampard only just back from injury.

Another issue on Benitez's agenda is club confidentiality, with Chelsea set to remind staff to be more careful with their documentation after two sheets of paper detailing tactical plans for corners (below) were found in the dressing room of the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama following Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Corinthians in the Club World Cup on Sunday.

Oscar, the Brazilian midfielder, was upset not to have played against Corinthians but Benitez insisted there are no problems with the 20-year-old.

"Oscar is a very good lad, a very good professional," he said. "His reaction has been very positive. We don't have an issue here."

Benitez also explained that he needs to start rotating the squad to cope with the demands of a congested fixture list. "The problem we had was Chelsea was playing with [the same] 11 players the majority of the games," he said. "We have to change this. Because you cannot carry on – especially now at Christmas time, with a busy schedule – playing the same players all of the time."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links