Aston Villa have been linked with a move for Daniel Sturridge this week, but should former player Micah Richards act as a warning.
The Sun reported over the weekend that Aston Villa remain an option for the England international. Sturridge is a local boy and spent time at Aston Villa in his youth.
A free agent after leaving Liverpool, all the pieces are there for Aston Villa to conclude a romantic return for the 29-year-old.
But Aston Villa have been stung before with one of Sturridge’s best mates.
Sturridge and Micah Richards are former team-mates for the Manchester City Academy. The two are good friends. In fact, when Richards joined Villa in 2015, Sturridge wished he was heading to Anfield for a reunion.
— Daniel Sturridge (@DanielSturridge) June 17, 2015
Like Sturridge, Richards was born in Birmingham and the move to Aston Villa seemed like a free transfer coup. A former England international, Richards was immediately handed the captaincy.
But also, like Sturridge, previous injury issues were the main concern regarding his signing.
Richards went on to be an expensive flop for Aston Villa. He struggled for form as Villa were relegated in his debut season. Injury trouble marred his second. For the past two seasons, he has not played a single game for the club.
As reported by the Birmingham Mail, Richards was on £35,000-a-week before his contract expired this summer. He had not kicked a ball for the club since October 2016 and the Daily Mail reported in January that Richards is likely to retire this summer.
The potential parallel pitfalls are clear for all to see. Sturridge has struggled with injuries since the 2014-15 season and whilst he remained fit for most of last term, Aston Villa fans are likely hesitant.
Like Richards, based on talent and pedigree alone, Sturridge is a no-brainer.
Sturridge resurrecting his career at his boyhood club would be a fantastic tale of football folklore. But if like Richards, he ends up another expensive injury flop, Aston Villa will ahgain pay the price. On this occasion, pragmatism might have to win over romanticism.