Daniel Sturridge has today signed for Liverpool for an undisclosed fee.
The striker leaves Chelsea after three and a half years at the club, during which he started 49 games with 47 appearances as a substitute. He scored 24 goals.
He joined from Manchester City in the summer of 2009 as a 19-year-old, the initial fee £3.5m. It was in the FA Cup he made his mark in his first season, scoring four times in three games in a campaign that ended with Chelsea lifting the trophy.
His first Premier League goal for the club was in April 2010 in a 7-0 win over Stoke. In that Double-winning season under Carlo Ancelotti, Sturridge earned a league winners’ medal having appeared 13 times in the competition. He ended his first season at Chelsea with five goals from 20 matches in all competitions.
The first half of the 2010/11 campaign yielded another four goals in 21 games. But with Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou in the squad, and Fernando Torres joining in the January, it was decided to loan Sturridge out to Bolton for half a season.
Back in the north-west he scored consistently at Premier League level, ending his stay with eight goals in 12 appearances, the one blemish a last-day red card that would see him suspended for the first three league games of the 2011/12 season.
New Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas tested Sturridge during pre-season on the right flank from where the left-footer could cut in and shoot, or arrive at the back post for left-sided crosses. As soon as his ban was over he was straight into the team in that position and scored with a deft back-heel at Sunderland, before adding two more at Bolton.
Having become an England Under-21 international soon after joining Chelsea, Sturridge now made the breakthrough into the senior England squad.
He had 12 goals for his club by the end of March 2012, including another FA Cup strike with an important equaliser against Birmingham City at the Bridge.
However, when Roberto Di Matteo took over team selection soon after and altered the formation, the Italian often preferred Ramires who offered more defensive qualities wide on the right. Sturridge was used sparingly as the season drew to a close. He was named as a substitute in both the FA Cup Final and Champions League Final.
The 23-year-old played for Team GB in the Olympics having overcome a bout of meningitis.
Sturridge came off the bench to score in this season’s 4-2 win away at Tottenham Hotspur in October and then netted a crucial goal in the Capital One Cup win against Manchester United, his first 90 minutes of the campaign. That was his last strike for Chelsea and his last game was in the final match of Di Matteo’s time in charge – away at West Bromwich Albion. This season he started twice with 10 sub appearances and two goals.
Chelsea Football Club thanks Daniel for his part in the very successful seasons we enjoyed during his time with us. And we wish him all the best for the future.