The transfer drama has already been considerable this summer, and as with last year it is Liverpool in the headlines again, trying to hold on to a star attacker. Luis Suarez may or may not have actually had his transfer to Barcelona agreed in January of the season he left, but in the case of Raheem Sterling it seems there are still a few possible outcomes, and this emotional potential transfer has totally divided the fans. We thought we’d take a look at the two opposing viewpoints in the situation, and maybe try to sum up just what the future holds for Europe’s ‘Golden Boy’.
In this camp you tend to find people who are fond of blue-sky thinking (or should that be sky-blue thinking?), and the prevailing opinion is that Liverpool have worked to create this situation themselves. By leaving Sterling earing roughly half or less of what far less talented players were on for an entire season, the club were always taking a risk, and it seems like it hasn’t paid off with the player admitting he would have re-signed last summer if given the chance. Add to that the failure of Brendan Rodgers to stay in the Champions League and a long-term lack of trophies at Anfield, and it’s not hard to see why Sterling might want to move onward and upwards.
Now, the ‘calling in sick’ tactic and his general association with Aidy Ward won’t be defended anywhere really, even in this camp, but a fair few neutrals agree with the devout Citizens keen to see Raheem in light blue, and understand his frustration and motives, if not his actions. Were someone like Sergio Aguero to act in this way to force a move to Real Madrid the tone might be different, but the same can be said of the way Liverpool recruited players from Southampton last season, and Sterling is considered by many to have a great chance of being more of a factor than occasional bench-warmer Adam Lallana was after his move.
In terms of his transfer to City specifically, you don’t find a lot of the bench-warmer comments in this camp either, with the fans comparing him to Nasri and Navas and finding in Sterling favour, making this transfer a logical one all around. As one of the best young talents in Europe, alongside the likes of Pogba, De Bruyne and others, Sterling is desperate to play at the top level and deserves to, and when you put it in that perspective the only thing to recommend Liverpool to him is playing time, which he will back himself to also get at Man City.
As a player and a person Sterling pretty-much sums up what is wrong with the modern game, overrating himself and putting money before all else. When he moved to Anfield from QPR his main motivation was money, of which Liverpool offered more than anyone else, and when he signed the £35k-a-week deal there was even talk about value then, when he became the highest-paid player of his age in Britain. Refusing to honour that contract only bodes poorly for City too, especially if Sterling gets bored of the north after a couple of years.
Added onto this you also have the much greater issue of the sense in paying £50m for a player who has had one truly outstanding season, and that season being one where he played with the best team attacker in the world. Even Lionel Messi and Neymar have had special seasons playing alongside Luis Suarez, so the Uruguayan lifting Sterling and Sturridge beyond their potential ceilings would not be such an outlandish thing after all, and it’s certainly true that Raheem failed to stand out in the season immediately following Suarez’s exit.
A lot of the anti-Raheem stuff has come from Liverpool fans of course, but outside of that group there is a general feeling that Sterling is overprice by a long way, with many saying he is worth about half of the £50m tag Liverpool have put on him. Set up to fail by an agent who only went solo seven months or so ago, Sterling is a symbol of the sickness in modern football and only cares about the money, and in the long term his forcing a move at this point will see him fail to achieve his overall potential too.
Overall, Raheem Sterling is not the first talented youngster to act in this way, and certainly won’t be the last. In fact, his team-mate Daniel Sturridge did the same thing in his time at City before moving to Chelsea and eventually Liverpool, with mixed results overall, and some would argue it may have made him a tougher player, while others would point to the stalling that occurred at Stamford Bridge as proof Sterling is making a mistake. Only time will tell if this move is worth fighting for, but here at FFT it still seems obvious that by the start of next season Sterling will be playing his home games at the Etihad, simply due to the determination he’s shown to get out, and the bridges he’s burned in the process.