Last night news broke that Manchester City had made an official bid of £25m for Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling. The England International who has turned down the offer of a new contract will no doubt be one of the top transfer targets this summer and Brendan Rodgers is going to have quite a fight on his hands to keep the 20 year old at the Merseyside club.
Liverpool who refused the bid from Manchester City are believed to be holding out for nearer double the £25m which was tabled last night. Liverpool know that Raheem Sterling still has two more years on his contract so aren’t necessarily in a position to sell just yet but it’s been no coincidence that Sterling’s form has dipped since all these contract talks so if Liverpool were to hold on to him for another season, who is to say his performances will merit a £50m transfer fee. With a backlash starting to form by Liverpool fans which was particularly apparent last Sunday when Sterling featured for England against Republic Of Ireland maybe the upper Liverpool hierarchy feel that this Summer could be the best time to cash in.
Manchester City have taken particular interest in Sterling not just for his talents but because they will need to fill up their home-grown quota of players this Summer, therefore players like Sterling will have a certain premium attached to them. To a certain degree Liverpool know this and have every right to try and get £50m for him but again whether Sterling is actually worth that much is can only be defined if a club is prepared to pay it. The obvious risk for Sterling is that if he does move to a club like Manchester City then he just becomes another player in the squad and at his age if he is going to kick on to the next level he needs to be playing more often than not and not warming the bench as a bit part player, there is every danger that his career could take the trajectory of Scott Sinclair if he was to get his move to the Etihad this Summer.
You could argue that Raheem Sterling is a better talent than Scott Sinclair was when he moved to Manchester City and would probably make more of a case to be in the first eleven this week but ultimately are City just trying to buy Sterling as a) to weaken one of their close rivals and b) just to fill a quota. If Real Madrid were to come in for a bid for Raheem Sterling they wouldn’t be hamstrung by the home-grown quota desire and the English player tax that comes with it, so they realistically could come in with a £40m but then the issue of getting first team Football would be even harder at the Bernabeu so you get the feeling that for Sterling’s personal development this wouldn’t be the right move for him.
So what would be the right move if any for Sterling, as someone who isn’t a Liverpool fan I don’t have the blind loyalty or bias in this transfer saga therefore I can make comments a bit more objectively but what I would say is that if the performances aren’t coming from the player and you can still manage to get more than £40m or so for him then it’s definitely time to cash in your chips. Manchester City do need a big season next time around after their flat title defence this time around so any big marquee signing this Summer isn’t likely to be warming the bench (although I suppose this depends on how much of an overhaul there is in the blue half of Manchester) therefore Sterling could be afforded a lot of game time. I would certainly make a case for him playing now that James Milner has gone to Liverpool and I think he would be more productive than Jesus Navas who hasn’t really set the Premier League alight. Therefore I think if Manchester City come back with a bigger bid of say £40m+ then we could see some movement out of Anfield for Raheem Sterling.
Moving into Anfield has been a different scenario with 3 players set to join in the next few weeks once their contracts end at their respective clubs. Mirroring the opposite of Sterling potentially going to Manchester City is that of the confirmed move of James Milner moving to Liverpool. A very smart signing from Brendan Rodgers, the big question will be what will be Milner’s most effective position, he almost seemed to be wasted out on the wide right for ‘City could he be the replacement for Los Angeles bound Steven Gerrard?. In attack the forward line has been bolstered by the signing of Danny Ings from Burnley, although the fee is still to be set by tribunal the announcement earlier this week that the man who get 10 Premier League goals for the Clarets last season will create some cheer on Merseyside for a side that was desperately lacking firepower due to the departure of Suarez and the injuries to Sturridge. Whether this will be enough to get the Liverpool attack firing on all cylinders or if there will be one more marquee signing up front remains to be seen, a departure from Sterling could see that £40m reinvested – I’m sure the Liverpool fans will demand it is. Also today Liverpool have announced the signature of ex Bolton Goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, he has replaced the outgoing Brad Jones and will supply backup and competition to Simon Mignolet.
With the business that Liverpool have already done I suppose you could say it’s solid but not necessarily spectacular but Liverpool fans will no doubt be glad that the club are doing business early, I suppose now they will keep a keen eye as to who else comes in and who if any departs. But for as long as Raheem Sterling doesn’t put pen to paper on a new Liverpool contract then this is on transfer saga that is going to run and run.