Brendan Rodgers remained predictably tight-lipped on the Raheem Sterling contract saga during today’s Liverpool press conference. He reiterated that the player was not for sale and confirmed his availability for this weekend’s last Premier League match of the season – away to Stoke City.
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Interestingly, Rodgers also reminded the journalists present that Sterling still has two-years remaining on his current contract, which he expects to be completed in full.
“My focus remains to improve Raheem as a footballer,” he said, in quotes taken by the Daily Mirror. “For me it’s very clear. Raheem, whether there are talks or no talks, has two years left and I expect him to see that through.”
Of course, he was asked about the news which emerged yesterday, when it was revealed that Sterling would not – as planned – be holding talks with his agent and our representatives later today (via the Daily Express).
The cancellation of those talks followed a rant from Sterling’s agent – Aidy Ward – in the Evening Standard, in which he called former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher ‘a knob’ and insisted that his client wouldn’t sign a new deal even if he were offered £900,000-per-week.
Rodgers added: “It’s very difficult to comment on what other people speak about. We’ve always been very clear here. Any discussions will be dealt with internally. We will deal with things in-house and be as private as we can possibly be.
However, when pressed further on his player’s future, he reasoned: “I don’t see Raheem unhappy. He’s a young boy who’s developed well over the last three seasons and we hope that development will continue here. He will be available for selection this weekend.”
The Northern Irishman also insisted that he had the backing of our owners, who he expects to continue to play hard-ball over the Sterling saga.
“The owners have shown their strength in their time here,” he said. “They have done an incredible job in these last years, and in every opportunity they have had to show that strength, whether it’s a player or something else, they’ve shown that.”
This all means that we look set for a third consecutive summer of transfer speculation regarding one of our own players – following Luis Suarez to Arsenal in 2013 and Luis Suarez to Barcelona in 2014.