Liverpool negotiating with Chelsea over Daniel Sturridge transfer, although £80,000-a-week 'demands' are dismissed
Chelsea striker frustrated by lack of starts
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge wants to make a January exit from Stamford Bridge - with Liverpool his first-choice destination.
A number of clubs are understood to be interested in the striker but Liverpool and Chelsea have begun talks over a £15m deal and Sturridge has set his sights on a move to Anfield reports the Evening Standard.
The 23-year-old, who joined from Manchester City for £6.5m in 2009, has become increasingly frustrated over his lack of starts up front and hopes a deal with the Reds will be agreed.
There have been reports that Sturridge has demanded £80,000-a-week to join the Reds, as well as guarantees over a starting role, however the striker's representatives have denied this.
"Daniel Sturridge does not conduct his business in public," they said.
"He also does not make demands in any negotiation, with regards to salary or his playing position.
"Any contract between a club and a player has to be based on mutual agreement."
Although Liverpool failed with a loan offer in the summer, manager Brendan Rodgers has been told funds will be available to sign Sturridge permanently in the new year.
The former City trainee has scored 24 goals in 95 appearances for the Blues — five more than rival Fernando Torres from 90 games — but has been mostly played out wide on the right flank.
His form has been good enough to earn four England caps and he also played up front for the Great Britain Olympic team in the summer.
Sturridge has started just two games for Chelsea this season due to a persistent hamstring injury but has conceded he will never be given a chance to be first-choice striker. Torres has been consistently picked ahead of him since joining for a British record £50m from Liverpool last year, even though he has failed to impress.
Chelsea are growing impatient over Torres but are expected to try to sign another big-name forward such as Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao or Napoli’s Edinson Cavani rather than give Sturridge a run in the side.
The club are prepared to let him go in January as his contract runs out in 2014 and with him not expected to agree a new one, it is the last window where they can command a large fee.
That will help them raise funds to buy a replacement, especially as it appears Romelu Lukaku will not be recalled from his season's loan at West Brom.
Lukaku, who started just four games for Chelsea last season after joining from Anderlecht for £18m, has scored five goals for Steve Clarke’s side.
Chelsea have an option to take him back in January but coach Rafael Benitez said: “It’s maybe best for him to stay there where he is playing games for now, as it will be better for his future development.”
Benitez has been put in charge for the rest of the season and it was thought that would allow Roman Abramovich to make a move for Pep Guardiola in the summer.
However, L’Equipe reported today the former Barcelona boss, who is on a year’s sabbatical, has opened talks with Paris St Germain as they are considering replacing boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Meanwhile, Frank Lampard trained today, raising the prospect he could return against Nordsjaelland tomorrow for his first match since straining his calf during the defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk in October.
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