West Ham United have re-joined the race to sign Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge after manager Slaven Bilić hinted that the England international could be part of the club's plans this summer. Sturridge is widely expected to leave Anfield this season after another injury-ravaged campaign which has seen him make just five Premier League starts, scoring twice.
Bilić had expressed an interest in signing Sturridge during the January transfer window but failed to secure a deal. Jose Fonte, Nathan Holland and Robert Snodgrass did arrive during the winter but the club were unable to acquire any forwards to help combat their injury problems.
Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, and André Ayew have all spent time out injured this season, contributing to an inconsistent campaign for West Ham, which sees them on course for a finish in the bottom half. The East Londoners failed to register in the recent goalless draw with Everton and Bilić says the showing will spark talks over their imminent transfer dealings which could including Liverpool's Sturridge.
"Offensively we did everything in terms of determination, commitment, running," he said, according to Sky Sports. "But we lacked a bit of spark, a bit of quality to make a good decision to do something. We are going to talk about the new season after this season. We've got positions we would like to fill.
"Last year we did something but we didn't fill all the positions.We wanted to, but it's not easy and it doesn't depend on you. You have to find the right player. The player you want has to be available and he has to choose you. If you talk about Sturridge as a player, especially if you go back two or three seasons, he was unbelievable. But then, he wasn't a subject for West Ham.
"Now you can still see it when he plays. He plays very rarely but I watched Stoke against Liverpool the other day. He came on and, with a couple of passes, he broke their defence. So, of course, he is showing that when he plays, but he plays very rarely. When he is on fire, he is a great player. Is he the sort of striker we would look at? We are going to see. We have our list of strikers."
Though Sturridge could return for Liverpool against Watford on Monday (1 May) he has spiralled down the pecking order in the eyes of manager Jürgen Klopp. The currently injured SadioMané, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino are all preferred to the 27-year-old leaving his future at the club uncertain.
But he is unlikely to be short of offers from rival Premier League clubs. Former Sunderland defender Micky Quinn believes newly promoted Newcastle United should launch a bid for Sturridge, who would boost their hopes of achieving survival in the top flight.
"They might only get 25 to 30 games out of him at a push but those 15, 20 goals will keep you in the Premier League for another season," he added. "They should absolutely go and get him."