Monday, 18 May 2015

Raheem Sterling to tell Liverpool he wants to leave, with City on alert

  • Sterling has not signed £100,000-a-week offer on table this season 
  • Manchester City will follow developments with England winger closely 
  • Steven Gerrard tells Raheem Sterling to sign new Liverpool contract
Liverpool's Raheem Sterling has instigated contract talks with club officials before Sunday's last game of the season against Stoke.
Liverpool's Raheem Sterling has instigated contract 
talks with club officials before Sunday's last
game of the season against Stoke. 

Photograph: Matt West/BPI/Rex Shutterstock
    Raheem Sterling is expected to inform Liverpool this week that he wishes to leave the club, with Manchester City ready to test Anfield’s resolve that the England international will not be sold.

    The 20-year-old has put City – and other clubs – on alert that he will agitate for a move from Liverpool after requesting fresh talks on his future with Anfield officials before the end of the Premier League season on Sunday.

    He had previously informed Brendan Rodgers that negotiations over a new contract would be postponed until the end of the season in order to concentrate solely on his football. However, the forward and his representative, Aidy Ward, are expected to tell Liverpool’s manager and the chief executive, Ian Ayre, on Friday that he will not sign a new deal with the club and wishes to move on.

    Sterling is said to be unhappy both at negative headlines surrounding his contract dispute with Liverpool and the absence of Champions League football at Anfield next season following the team’s miserable end to this one. Rodgers’ team have collected only eight points from the last 24 available to miss out on a top-four finish and were also eliminated from the FA Cup after a woeful display against Aston Villa in the semi-final.

    Liverpool could argue that Sterling’s form has dipped markedly since controversy erupted over his rejection of a new five-year contract worth £100,000-a-week and that it was his interview with the BBC, in which he denied being a “money-grabber” and said his ambition was to win trophies at the highest level, that generated the adverse publicity.

    Sterling, who has been linked with City and Arsenal in recent months, has already indicated to Rodgers that he wants to leave Liverpool and the latest round of talks could clarify his determination to see out his current contract, which has two years to run, should the club refuse to consider offers this summer.

    Liverpool have been in discussions over a new deal since October but remain at deadlock over an agreement and their failure to secure a top-four finish represents a major setback to their hopes of convincing Sterling to stay. Liverpool do have him on a £35,000-a-week contract until 2017 and Rodgers has made it clear that he and the club’s owner, Fenway Sports Group, are minded not to sell even in the event of the impasse continuing beyond this summer. The Liverpool manager said recently: “Raheem won’t be going anywhere this summer, even if there’s not a deal agreed.”

    That stance has not altered since Sterling’s agent requested fresh talks ahead of the season’s finale at Stoke City on Sunday. Rodgers and FSG, however, are likely to receive confirmation in the coming days that Sterling has no intention of committing his future to Liverpool and City, who are keen to recruit young British talent this summer, will be favourites to capitalise on the continued deterioration in relations. A bid in excess of £30m may prompt Liverpool to reconsider their position on a player who should he leave in 2017 would attract only a compensation fee having been at Anfield since the age of 15.

    Only last week Steven Gerrard appealed to Sterling to sign a new contract. The departing captain said: “He should sign a new deal here. Brendan is a fantastic man-manager and puts a lot of time and effort into the development of an individual. The danger for these young players is they want it all too soon and they go chasing it. Then they go to another club and just become a number.” But Gerrard’s request appears almost certain to be ignored.

    The Guardian

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