Liverpool should test the water with a striking bid

Football
FanCast guest columnist
Ray McMahon wonders if wealth
and expectation is going to deprive clubs of some of their most precocious
youngsters and whether their loss will prove other's gain.

Why everyone was jumping through hoops at Arsenal's
young guns in midweek and the media hailing Arsene Wenger as the saviour of
English football, it got me thinking about how many of their talented
youngsters will actually get the chance to evolve and become a regular feature
in the first team. Wenger proclaimed that 8 or 9 could actually make the step up;
I wonder if that will actually prove the case.

Being a trained UEFA coach, nothing gives me great
satisfaction in seeing players come through the system and making their names
in the game. While Arsenal's system certainly seems to be working, given the
talent on display, I just wonder whether the demand for success from
supporters, will see them given the time to evolve, I don't believe they will
and that is a similar fear that I now have for Manchester City.

Manchester City has been a hot bed for top young
talent and Jim Cassell continually fails to get the
recognition for the quality that he continually churns out. This man's CV has
seen the likes of SWP, Richards, Ireland, Johnson, Evans and Sturridge come
through this system and arguably has saved Manchester City millions in the
process. Obviously City prior to having their great wealth were able to throw
these youngsters in the first team, as the expectancy levels wasn't as high,
but I just wonder now with the Abu Dhabi United Group's pumping millions into
the football club, as to whether they will really get the chance to fulfil
their potential. I know Mark Hughes has come out and stated he is keen for this
to happen, but I think the real reality is that they won't.

I look at this Manchester City squad and
for me there are potentially going to be a lot of rich pickings for other clubs
to exploits. We all know about the talents of Joe Hart and Michael Johnson, but
for me the jewel of their crown is Daniel Sturridge, who is without question
will have a big future within the game. He really has no weakness in his game,
apart from experience, but has already shown in the fleeting first team
appearances he has had, what great abilities he possesses and how he can handle
the rigours and pace of top level football. I remember watching him as a 15yr
old and it was simply a man against boy's performance out there. When players
are top quality they stand out like a country mile and there is simply no
hesitation as to whether they will make it to the top, Sturridge is fulfilling
that potential and that is why City are so desperate to keep hold of the 19yr
old.

It emerged today that City are
struggling to agree a new contract for the striker, as he is unwilling to
commit his future to the club. I cannot believe for a minute it is down to
monetary reasons, given the wealth City possess and it makes you wonder whether
the player is biding his time to see what opportunities he will be given this
season, and whether possible January arrivals are going to stunt his progress.
Sturridge is a player that IMO is ready for first team football now and I'm
certain that there is an array of Premier league teams monitoring the situation
at present and waiting to pounce. I'm a massive Liverpool fan and I personally
feel that Sturridge would be a sensation at Anfield and is more than capable of
complementing Torres in the Liverpool attack. Money is tight at Liverpool and I
wonder whether Rafa should take the opportunity in January to test the water
with a bid and possibly turn the player's head. There is no doubt that
Sturridge is ready and is more than capable of playing in that attack, it's
just depends as to whether Benitez will take that risk.