Catch Seventy7

Sports news and views, and other stuff in life…

Don’t Blame Daniel Sturridge For His Outrageous Contract Demands

He’s 19, has only started a handful of Premiership games, and wants £75,000-a-week. Catch Seventy7 is 22, about £15,000 in debt, but still doesn’t blame Daniel Sturridge for his actions….

Ireland & Sturridge: Close on the pitch, but Manchester City clearly value them miles apart

Ireland & Sturridge: Close on the pitch, but Manchester City clearly value them miles apart

In the pantheon of stories about footballer’s greed it may never rank at the top, but Daniel Sturridge’s recent contract demands with current club Manchester City have certainly raised a few eyebrows.

The 19-year-old striker, who has started just three league games for the Eastlands club this season, looks destined to leave the club after rejecting their final contract offer. According to reports, Sturridge turned down the club’s final offer of £45,000-a-week as it fell short of his £75,000 demands.

It should be patently obvious to anyone who watches football that Sturridge is not worthy of £45,000-a-week, let alone £75,000, at this stage in his career.  After all, Stephen Ireland — the club’s player of the year — is about to put pen to paper on a deal ‘only’ worth £65,000-a-week.

The temptation, because it is Manchester City, is to make sweeping generalisations about Sturridge’s intentions.

But his outrageous demands should not be simply written off as pure greed.

There must be more to it than that.

Sturridge, unlike many other young players, has already seen at close hand the legacy that professional football can leave. His uncle, Dean Sturridge, was a successful Premiership striker with Derby County, Leicester City, and Wolverhampton Wanderers for more than ten years between 1995-2005.

But Dean is unlikely to be remembered for his ability in another decade’s time — if indeed, many still remember him now — and for such a short-term career he didn’t earn vast sums of money, either.

Still only 35, Dean has few avenues left open to him within football, and even fewer outside football. How coaching, his prospects of ever earning considerable sums again are extremely slim.

As a close family member, Daniel has no doubt witnessed the final stop for football’s average players. Yet, at just 19, Daniel finds himself with the chance to earn enough money to secure himself and his family financially for life.

Who wouldn’t want to exploit that opportunity?

Perhaps the boxer Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. expressed it best, when he said this week, “Your legacy lives for ever, but if you make enough money your great-great-great grandkids are taken care of for ever.”

But it is not purely about taking care of his family for Sturridge. As City’s No. 36 said in an interview on the club’s website a few months ago:

“The main thing for me is to get in the first team. My dad (who was at Birmingham) was a young player like me, but unfortunately he didn’t play in the first team. He’s made me realize I’ve got to work harder. He played loads in the reserves, but that told me the reserves don’t count for anything.”

Sturridge doesn’t undervalue his abilities either.

“I’ve got the vision, I can score goals, I can excite the fans,” he said. “I can bring a lot of things to the table, but I just need the opportunities to show it.”

Yet this season Sturridge has seen his first team opportunities limited, especially with the arrival of expensive superstars like Robinho. With Jo returning from Everton, Bulgarian international Valeri Bojinov back to fitness, Felipe Caicedo preferred and Benjani still on the books—not to mention a new striker likely to arrive in the summer—it looks certain chances will be even harder to come by next season.

£75,000-a-week would soften that blow. But more pertinently, if Manchester City agreed to such demands it would be the clearest signal to Sturridge that manager Mark Hughes intended to him regularly in the first-team next season.

Ultimately, then, Sturridge is testing Manchester City’s faith in him.

Money might be a crude measure of that, but such has been the case in football for the best part of a decade now. Sturridge should not be criticized for playing the hand he has been dealt.

If the club had agreed to his wage demands (which are still half of what Robinho is reportedly earning) then it would have told him unequivocally that the club intend to use him as a first team player. With some exceptions, the money men at City have proven they are not going to just through money around. If they paid Sturridge, it would surely be because they expected him to have the chance to deliver.

As it is, £45,000 (which was rumoured to be partially structured on appearances) will suggest to the England youth international that while the club wants him to stay, the don’t intend to play him regularly any time soon. As such, he understandably feels he is better off searching for the first-team opportunities he craves so desperately somewhere else.

With four goals and three assists to his name in such fleeting appearances this season — and no initial transfer fee to worry about — there is undoubtedly a top-flight club out there willing to pay him upwards of £25,000 and to give him a starting role.

That would do nicely.

If he were to stay at Manchester City, then Daniel is savvy enough to realise that his first-team opportunities would be more limited than if he found another club that desired his talents. But if the Eastlands club could pay him twice as much money as he would get anywhere else to sit on the bench, why not stay?

Sturridge has scored goals at every level he has played, and intends to continue doing so. He believes implicitly in his talents — but unfortunately he has had to use money to ascertain his employer’s intentions, and his demands have shown that City, rightly or wrongly, don’t share his faith.

So call it an outrage, call it greed. Add it to the list of what is wrong with football.

But at least Sturridge now knows where he stands.

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May 24, 2009 - Posted by | Sport, World Football | , ,

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