There was a time where Daniel Sturridge was one of the most prolific goalscorers in the Premier League.
His partnership with Luis Suarez, during the 2013/14 campaign, which saw 55 goals scored between them in all competitions, was one of the greats of the Premier League era.
However, the 28-year-old is undoubtedly fading and, at the end of his disappointing West Brom loan spell, it is difficult to know what the future holds for the Englishman.
Sturridge joined the Baggies on deadline day of the January transfer window after only starting once for his parent club Liverpool.
The move would hope to increase his chances of making Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad as well as help to ensure the Premier League survival of a club close to home for the forward.
However, the move has gone horribly wrong for both parties since the start of the new year.
The move was initially described as a “coup” by recently sacked Baggies manager Alan Pardew, who won only one of his 18 Premier League fixtures.
Despite the incredible turn-around undergone by caretaker boss Darren Moore, the drop was inevitable for West Brom and the signing of Sturridge now looks to have been one of the season’s most disappointing pieces of businesses.
The Liverpool loanee will cost West Brom £4 million in wages and his initial loan fee by the end of the season – an extra painful expense that will have to be shouldered by the Baggies as they prepare for life in the Championship.
Sturridge has played no part in the club’s recent upturn in form. In the 1-0 win away at Newcastle United last weekend, the striker was an unused substitute with Hal Robson-Kanu preferred ahead of him, embodying a dramatic fall from grace for the former Chelsea striker.
The Englishman is now nobody’s first choice. His injury-proneness is at a point of parody and while his goals to game ratio is undeniable, it is undone by an inconvenient truth. The striker just isn’t worth the risk currently and with the best of his days undoubtedly behind him, it is hard to see a club taking a gamble on the forward.
He is also likely to become a record holder for all the wrong reasons. If Liverpool were to win the Champions League, with the demise of West Brom from the Premier League, he would become the first ever Champions League winner to be relegated that same season.
His parent club are firing on all cylinders, scoring 130 goals in all competitions and heading into their first Champions League final in 11 years.
With the likes of Mohamed Salah, the PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Year, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all finding the back of the net for fun this season, it is difficult to see Sturridge winning back a first-team place.
A player on a £120,000-a-week pay packet is not one to warm the bench with.
The West Brom move clearly hasn’t worked out. However, a cut-price deal for Sturridge could appeal to a newly-promoted side looking to stay up or a mid-table side seeking greater attacking options.
It’s always sad to see one of the country’s most promising stars fade as dramatically as Sturridge has in recent years. However, with the right club, a season free from injuries may just yet see the dancing striker show glimpses of his former self.