Every football pundit, journalist and expert under the sun has had their say on the Raheem Sterling saga this week, as the situation surrounding his contract becomes all the more farcical.
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Despite it all, you have to wonder what might have happened had Sterling not had one of the most despicable men in world football in his ear. His agent Aidy Ward certainly has a growing reputation as this year’s pantomime villain, with his latest remarks in the Evening Standard seeing him sink to an all new low.
His comments on both Sterling’s contract and Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher have surely ended any hopes of him reconciling with the football club, while it will also make it incredibly difficult for him to do business with us again. It’s worth remembering for instance that Ward represents reported Liverpool target Saido Berahino (via the Daily Mail).
To recap what he told the Standard – although he has since denied making these comments (via the Daily Express) – he apparently said: “I don’t care about the PR of the club and the club situation. I don’t care,” he began.
“He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700, £800, £900 thousand a week. He is not signing. My job is to make sure I do the best with them (my clients). If people say I am bad at my job, or they are badly advised it does not matter.
“Carragher is a knob. Everybody knows it. Any of the criticism from current pundits or ex-Liverpool players – none of them things matter to me. It is not relevant. I am not worried. Worried is making a decision not knowing what is going to happen. Every Premier League club will make a bid for him.”
While many Liverpool fans were left understandably angry by Ward’s verbal attack, the truth is that this situation is simply very sad. This is a young player – just 20-years-old – who had the world at his feet 12 months ago, coming off an impressive season in which the Reds had finished second in the league. He was progressing well for both club and country and was quickly becoming an integral player.
But since the turn of the year, his performances have been in steady decline. Ward can talk up a move to Manchester City and Chelsea as much as he wants, the truth is that he simply wouldn’t get in either of those teams based on what he’s produced over the last few months.
Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry perhaps summed the situation up best, while talking to Sky Sports (via ESPN). He said: “I think we all know that he’s been receiving some bad advice. You can’t go out there and talk about your contract in the press. You have to respect your fans, respect the club that you play for.
“If you want to leave Liverpool or not, when you make the decision about leaving or staying, then do it. Don’t discuss yourself in the paper.”
It’s going to be a long and hard way back for Sterling next season, regardless of whether he leaves Liverpool or not. After being booed at our end of season awards on Tuesday, whilst receiving the Young Player of the Year award, it was made crystal clear that his recent actions do not sit well with the Liverpool fans, while a number of other clubs will surely have similar concerns about signing such a ‘bad egg’.
You have to hope, for Sterling’s sake, that he rids himself of this cretin before his career is left in tatters. With every back-page headline comes another dip in his form. It’s something of a cliché, but he needs to his talking on the pitch rather than off it.
At the moment, he’s simply not doing any talking at all, his agent is putting the words in his mouth for him.