Liverpool have hit a hitch in their attempts to sign Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge, with the player’s representatives making demands which the club are unwilling to meet.
Though the £12m transfer fee for the 23-year-old has been agreed with Chelsea, Liverpool are unwilling to agree to his agents’ demands for a percentage of any sell-on fee. The club – who expect to announce a new five-year, £35,000-a-week deal for Raheem Sterling within 48 hours – are also resisting demands relating to where Sturridge will play and his salary, though it is the sell-on fee which is the principal reason for the deal stalling.
The problems are by no means insurmountable and manager Brendan Rodgers believes the England international’s desire to get games under his belt will see them prevail in negotiations with his agents. But the manager is prepared to go for a stop-gap loan option if he has to, with the availability of players such as Paris St-Germain’s Kevin Gameiro disproving any sense that the Anfield club are desperate and have no other options.
Sterling’s new deal has been struck two weeks after he turned 18 Since he had not finalised the terms of his first professional contract, there was a risk that other clubs could have signed him for a compensation fee. His new deal includes a substantial performance-related component.
Liverpool’s stance in the Sturridge negotiations also reflects a determination by the club’s managing director Ian Ayre to tackle the exorbitant agents’ fees which have cost the club so dear in the past four years. Since figures on those fees were first made public in 2008-09, Liverpool have paid out £31.3m to agents. Only Chelsea’s £31.8 and Manchester City’s £39m are higher in that time. The club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, feel they have paid way over the odds to agents and Ayre is driving through attempts to bring the figure down.
Rodgers has sought a number of opinions from those who have worked with Sturridge and is convinced he can be a major penalty-area threat. But his career has been spent at big clubs who have not played him – City, before Chelsea. As he moves towards his mid-20s, this seems like the moment for him to drive through the move which promises a regular Premier League place. The deal to bring him to Anfield would have been concluded three weeks ago had the problems not occurred with the contract.