James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo has answered some intriguing questions about the increasingly painful Raheem Sterling contract saga…
As we all know by now, we’ve cancelled planned Friday talks with the youngster and his agent Aidy Ward following the latter’s outrageous comments yesterday, which you can read in our SEE MORE section.
Below, Pearce discusses who’s to blame, Liverpool’s likely plan of action and Sterling’s transfer value.
What do you think Carragher’s reaction will be to these comments?
JP: I’m sure Carragher will just laugh it off. He will have been called far worse! I very much doubt whether he will get drawn into a war of words with someone like Aidy Ward.
Carragher was only saying what the majority of Liverpool fans were thinking when he criticised the way that Ward has handled Raheem Sterling. The truth from the Kop legend clearly hurt an agent who has done his client no favours with this apparent outburst.
Can you ask @jamespearce if it is viable that we could keep sterling for another season or keep him in reserves?
JP: It’s certainly viable that he stays for another year. The owners have made it clear that Sterling isn’t for sale. They refused to be bullied when Suarez wanted to join Arsenal in 2013 and it will be the same again.
Sterling has two years left on his current deal and Liverpool don’t feel under any pressure to sell.
That resolve will only be tested if there’s an offer in excess of £45m/£50m. I’d be surprised if there was.
Q for James. You think the owners would rather keep sterling for 2 years on 35k than let him join a PL rival this/next summer?
JP: Yes, they would. They have made it clear previously they don’t want to sell to Premier League rivals.
Every week since October that Sterling has stayed on £35k per week, Liverpool have essentially been saving themselves £65k per week.
They could keep doing that for the next two years and then get a compensation fee when his current deal expires.
I don’t believe it will come to that but Sterling will only leave this summer or next summer on Liverpool’s terms.
After the comments, what’s better. Sell Sterling now, or keep for another year and sell then? Also, EPL or abroad?
JP: I don’t think the apparent comments from Ward change anything.
Maybe he thinks he can make Sterling’s position untenable but Liverpool FC won’t see it like that.
There’s always a way back. Suarez in 2013 is proof of that. He basically called Rodgers a liar in the press and then knuckled down, signed a new deal and produced the season of his life.
In answer to your final question, if Sterling did go, LFC would clearly rather he went abroad. But I just don’t buy the idea that Real Madrid want him. He’s just not at that level.
Do you agree that #lfc should now make this a stand against wantaway players/agents, even if it meant possibly losing money?
JP: It’s a difficult situation. Liverpool FC know that image wise it would be a disaster to lose Sterling this summer.
Losing Suarez was one thing but not being able to keep hold of a 20-year-old rookie still learning his trade would look terrible.
I can understand when fans say Liverpool should make him stay whatever and make that stand against player power and agents.
However, in reality, I think you have to see how the summer pans out.
If Man City really are prepared to pay £50m for him I’d be seriously tempted to take it. Sterling is good but he’s not irreplaceable.
Obviously, if he does go, the preference would be a big money offer from abroad but I don’t see that happening.
What sort of fee realistically would we be looking for Raheem?
JP: Thanks for your question Johnny. It would have to be around the £45m/£50m mark for Liverpool to even consider it.
Aidy Ward may think he holds all the aces but in reality he doesn’t.
Sterling can put in a transfer request and he can go on strike, but he won’t leave Liverpool unless there’s a bid on the table the club believe reflects his value.
If you ask me, I don’t think he’s worth that kind of money. I’d say nearer £30m.
Do you think @sterling31 is being moulded by Ward, into a money grabbing, ungrateful and overrated player, or is he just that?
JP: That’s a very good question Emily.
It’s easy to point the finger of blame at Ward and I’ve certainly been very critical of him in the past because I think Sterling has been badly advised.
Much of the negativity that surrounds this saga – all the leaks to the press and that misguided interview with the BBC – from come from inside his camp.
However, Sterling isn’t blameless. After all, an agent is merely there to represent his client and do what he asks him to do.
Sterling wants to leave Liverpool and join a rival Premier League club. That’s his wish, not Ward’s.