With the departure of Didier Drogba, Chelsea face a massive problem in deciding who will replace the Ivory Coast international as their prime striker.
Obviously, it is either going to be Fernando Torres or the young Daniel Sturridge. The former is the preferred option for most of the fans and critics due to his massive experience and undoubted talents, but it would be unwise to count out Sturridge even though the England international had a 'lacklustre' 2011-12 season.
The 22-year-old still has loads of promise and can be a huge hit at the Bridge in the near future.
This article is going to tell you why.
Sturridge's Strength and Weaknesses
Before we talk about the prime topic of discussion, let us first have a short look at the strengths and weaknesses of Sturridge.
Sturridge is a flashy striker with glittering pace and skilful dribbling abilities. He has a 'cool head' in front of the goal but has limited success in his aerial duels. His vision is fantastic but his passing, crossing and the capabilities of holding on to the ball are miserable to say the least. However, he does possess the true characteristics of a forward, that is, great poaching instincts in front of the goal, skills to easily beat his marker and convert the slightest of chances into potential goal-scoring threats.
In simple words, Sturridge currently lacks versatility in his game, however, his talents as centre forward are immense.
Yes, he is often criticized for being selfish, but this is trait that many of the world's best forwards possess. A centre forward is expected to be the final part of the attack and is expected to hold on to the ball and place it in the back of the net. Hence, he has to be a little 'selfish' in order to produce the required goals for his team.
Cristiano Ronaldo is often considered one of the best players to have ever graced this planet, but he is also one of the most selfish attackers to have ever played the game. But then, the Portuguese does go on to score tons of goals and in fact, single handedly lead his team to the path of glory.
Centre forwards need to be selfish and Sturridge has the potential to use this characteristic for his own benefit and become the mainstream of Chelsea's attack.
Loan-Stint at Bolton and Subsequent Season at Chelsea
During the winter transfer window if the 2010-11 season, Daniel Sturridge was loaned out to Bolton Wanderers.
Playing as a centre forward for the team, the England international heavily impressed during his short spell at the Reebok Stadium, scoring eight goals in just 12 appearances and earning numerous plaudits for his dazzling displays.
However, the subsequent season, that is, the 2011-12 season, proved to be a disappointing campaign for Sturridge. Sturridge was primarily used as a winger by both Villa-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo and struggled to adapt to his new role. Hence, by the end of the season, the youngster spent most of the warming the bench and received minimal playing time.
Consequently, many started to criticize Sturridge for not 'living up to his potential' and labelled him as 'yet another overrated England international'. However, they often forgot that the former City starlet was played out of position throughout the season and in fact, didn't really get the chance to show his true talents.
At the just-concluded London Games, Sturridge played in a much more advanced and central role than he did for Chelsea and the lad was surely one of Stuart Pearce's team's best players at the Games.
Added to that, just days ago, the former Citizen himself admitted that he prefers playing as a centre forward rather than a winger and will relish the opportunity of leading his club's attack this season.
"Nobody wants to sit on the bench so it's important for me this season to be playing regularly and show everybody what I'm capable of doing as a centre-forward," Sturridge told Chelsea's official website.
Di Matteo, are you listening?
Not much to say here as Chelsea lack true attackers in their team right now.
Chelsea might have been heavily linked with the likes of Hulk and Edinson Cavani over the past few months, but nothing concrete has surfaced so far and I don't frankly see the Blues spending on a striker this summer.
With Romelu Lukaku heading out a for a loan-stint and West Brom and with Lucas Piazon unlikely to break into the first-team this season, the only real 'alternative' to Daniel Sturridge for the forward to role is, as stated above and as we all know, Fernando Torres.
The Spaniard scored in the club's Community Shield loss to Manchester City and had an excellent Euro 2012, winning the Golden Boot even after getting limited playing time.
The former Liverpool man will be without a doubt preferred over Sturridge to lead Chelsea's attack, but if Torres fails to produce the goods for Chelsea, as he always has, Sturridge might just get the opportunity to take over the former Atletico Madrid star's role.
Daniel Sturridge is one of the most promising young attackers in world football right now.
If the lad is played in his preferred position this season, he has enough talents and abilities to even bench the now slightly overrated Fernando Torres.
Yes, Sturridge might have had a disappointing last season, but he possesses all the skills to excel at the biggest stage for Chelsea and maybe, just maybe, the FA Cup winners could get the ideal replacement for Didier Drogba without even spending a single penny.