Raheem Sterling will complete a move from Liverpool to Manchester City, according to the BBC, after both clubs agreed on a fee of £49 million for the 20-year-old forward. The agreement brings to an end a long drawn saga that had seen Liverpool reject two earlier bids – of £30 million and £35 million – and had created a rift between Sterling and the Liverpool club.
As reported earlier on Inquisitr, Sterling had been left behind as the Liverpool squad flew out for a pre-season tour in Asia on Sunday morning, raising speculation that a deal with Manchester City was imminent. Sterling, who joined Liverpool’s youth academy from London club QPR in 2010, becomes the most expensive English player in history, breaking a record previously held by Andy Carroll, whose transfer from Newcastle to Liverpool cost £35 million in 2011.
Sterling had two years left on his Liverpool contract, but negotiations on a renewal broke down in January after the England international turned down a £100, 000 per week deal and made it clear he wanted to leave the club. An interview on the BBC followed – unsanctioned by the club – in which Sterling confirmed he had turned down a new deal and tried to explain his motivation for seeking a move.
Things got uglier once the season ended, with Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward wading into the matter and declaring sensationally, in an interview with The Evening Standard, that Sterling wouldn’t be renewing “not even for £900,000 pounds per week”. A summer of intense media scrutiny and criticism, especially from former Liverpool players, then followed.
Sterling missed two days of training last week – calling in sick on Wednesday and Thursday – as the Liverpool squad resumed training for the new season, a move widely believed to be a ploy to pressure Liverpool into a move. He did return on Friday and reported to travel with the team on Sunday before being left out of the traveling party.
According to The Daily Mail, Sterling has been given permission to discuss terms with City ahead of a medical this week, but reports in The Telegraph suggest he could earn up to a whopping £200,000 per week at Manchester City. Sterling joins a club that have won the Premier League title twice in the last four years and that can offer him regular Champions League football. Liverpool, who finished sixth in the Premier League last season, will miss out on the Champions League again, and despite the huge transfer fee, face another season with another top performer leaving the club, following the departure of Luis Suarez – who moved to Barcelona for £75 million – last summer.
Fans’ reactions to the deal have been pretty mixed, if social media is anything to go by, and there has certainly been a lot of talk about the size of the fee.
Some will say that £49m is a good deal for #LFC. Me, I'm sad to see another talented player leave. Sterling has potential to be world class.— Paul Grech (@paul_grech) July 12, 2015
Raheem Sterling is a very good young player but he has not yet hit the heights of an Owen, Rooney, Fowler or Giggs http://t.co/IfLPgI6Scl— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) July 12, 2015
Glad the Sterling saga is done and dusted, boss deal for us, time to move on. Lets Hope lessons have been learned from last seasons spending— Stephen Evans (@StephenEvans75) July 12, 2015
We give City 1 Sterling and they give us 49 million Sterlings in return. I say it is a good deal.— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) July 12, 2015
€68m for Sterling. Rather have Bacca and Griezmann for same money to be honest...— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) July 12, 2015
I think Sterling can grow into a great player - but he isn't there yet - £49m and £200k a week on the possibility is a mad risk. #LFC.— Si Steers (@sisteers) July 12, 2015
In his last three seasons in Liverpool’s first team, Sterling – recently ranked Europe’s most valuable young player in a Soccerex study, according to ESPN – scored 18 goals in 98 Premier League appearances. He also made 16 appearances for England, including all three matches at last year’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
Sterling obviously has great potential, and if the deal goes through, Manchester City gets arguably the best young talent to come out of England in the last 10 years; Liverpool get a large infusion of cash to continue a rebuild of their squad. Liverpool fans will be hoping it is better spent than the Suarez millions were last summer.
[Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]