Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo insists forward Daniel Sturridge has a future at Stamford Bridge and has hinted that the 22-year-old Englishman could play in his preferred central striker role this season.
The arrival of attacking trio Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin this summer led to speculation linking the England international with a move away from the club, with former Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas reportedly keen on bringing him to cross-town rivals Tottenham Hotspur. However, Di Matteo has since stated that Sturridge remains part of his plans for Chelsea's future.
Sturridge scored twice in Team GB's campaign at the London Olympics 2012, where Stuart Pearce's side reached the quarter final before going out on penalties to South Korea. It was Sturridge who missed the decisive penalty for Team GB.
"[Sturridge] is part of the squad, of the team. He still has a lot to learn as well, but we are hopeful that he can develop even more and become a great player for us. He is a very exciting player, and it's great for him to be involved in the England squad," ESPN quoted Di Matteo as saying
"He has the ability to play in more than one position. He made it quite public he likes to play as a number nine but there is competition, which is good, and we will see as the season starts who is going to play."
Di Matteo also revealed that the Blues were still keeping an eye on the transfer market and could add more players to the club's ranks before the end of summer.
"We are a little bit light in a couple of positions and we've got one or two young players who are interesting but we will see what is going to go on and see what happens when the market closes," the club's official website quoted the manager as saying.
Di Matteo is believed to be in the market for a new right back and striker, following the departures of Portuguese international Jose Bosingwa and Ivorians Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou. The Blues have been linked with a number of options in both positions, the most recent being Juventus' Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner.