Liverpool react to Raheem Sterling’s Interview by slapping a £50million price tag on the player
Liverpool reacted strongley to Raheem Sterling’s unauthorised BBC interview this week and are adamant that the twenty year-old will be priced out of a summer move, with manager Brendan Rodgers insisting the club’s owners will not buckle from their hard-line stance on the winger’s future. Sterling claimed that he would consider options at the end of this season, but he faces at least another 12 months on his existing £35,000-a-week deal as owner John W Henry adopts the same strategy that retained Luis Suárez for another campaign before his eventual £75 million transfer to Barcelona.Liverpool value Sterling at a minimum of £50 million, a fee senior figures at Anfield believe well beyond what any club will pay for the 20-year-old, leaving the England international with a dilemma when contract talks resume this summer: Either they reach a compromise or he will lose millions in wages before he can force his way out. “I cannot speak for the owners, but I have a good idea of what they would do,” said Rodgers. “I know them well enough from my time here and for me this sale will not happen. I do not see it. No. Raheem has 2½ years left on his deal and he’s not going anywhere in the summer. Liverpool are one of the superpowers of football and if the owners don’t want to sell they don’t have to. The concentration should be on his football. If his ambition is to win trophies, that’s aligned with what we want here.”
A top football expert has the feeling that Sterling, or more probably, his agent Aidy Ward, areseriously misjudging the transfer market and how much rivals in the Premier League and abroad will be prepared to bid for the player at the end of the season. A £50 million transfer fee plus a five-year salary close to £200,000 a week would take the total cost of signing Sterling in excess of £100 million. Realistically, only Manchester City could make such a bid but even they have to direct their resources carefully since the introduction of financial fair play. Some suggest that Arsenal be a potential destination, but Liverpool proved in the case of Suárez in 2013 that they are not bluffing when they stand their ground on a player and signing Sterling would require an extraordinary investment, well beyond what Arsenal bid in their failed chase for the South American two years ago.Liverpool reaped the benefits with Suárez as he produced his best form in his last season at Anfield. Liverpool knew that, with a World Cup on the horizon, the Uruguayan would not down tools.Similarly, Sterling has next year’s European Championship to consider, so there are no worries his application on the pitch will deteriorate due to the off-field dispute.
Rodgers offered support to his player following Wednesday’s controversial BBC interview in which he explained why he had refused to commit his future to Anfield.The Liverpool manager adopted a sympathetic tone, the feeling being the youngster has been guided by Ward into making ‘a mistake’. “There was no permission from us. He will learn we all make mistakes in life, especially when you are young,” said Rodgers. “It surprised us all. It’s something he looked to do but it has not evolved how he would have wanted to, but my concentration is working with the player. He is a young man. He trained well and worked well and did some extra work after training. He has had trauma in his life and he is a tough boy and you see that in how he plays, but he is still very young.”
Sterling suggested it was a dream to play “somewhere sunny” with comments echoing those of Suárez prior to his departure for Spain. Rodgers warned he still has some way to go before overseas clubs see him at the same level as Suárez.“That was probably Raheem looking over the course of the next 15 years, if he plays to 35,” said Rodgers. “Players now may look to later in their career and their life. But I can only focus on here, Liverpool and what is best for him as a 20-year-old. He’s not at that level. He’s a very talented young footballer hopefully on his way to that level. We think it will be best for him here and we will work hard to ensure he stays. He’s a young player who has a lot of development who has developed for one reason, which is Liverpool.”
The worlds best football tipster is convinced that Sterling, or more likely his agent, has made a serious mistake in overestimating his “power” and underestimated Liverpool’s resolve in protecting their assets and only one outcome does look likely, what do you think?