Rumour has it that Liverpool will turn down Manchester City’s latest bid for wantaway forward Raheem Sterling, if Manuel Pellegrini’s side fail to match our reported £50m valuation.
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According to reports in the Daily Mirror, our owners remain determined to play hardball over any potential transfer. That’s despite an imminent bid of £40m, with an additional £4m in add-ons, likely to arrive this weekend.
The Telegraph also announced this morning that we might consider taking the matter to the PFA, who stepped in back in 2013 when Luis Suarez was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal. However, unlike the Suarez situation two summers ago, it’s hard to see what we’re going to gain by keeping our man this time around.
Suarez is arguably one of the three best players on the planet. When he realised that the move was not going to happen he got his head down, signed a new contract, and has his best season yet in a Liverpool shirt. Twelve months later he earned his dream move to Barcelona and we pocketed a cool £75m (via BBC Sport).
In contrast, Sterling missed two days of training this week due to an unknown illness, and recently claimed that he wanted to leave the club due to the breakdown of his relationship with manager Brendan Rodgers
As the Daily Mirror tell us, that’s despite Rodgers handing him his chance in the first-team and turning him into the player he is today. They are dead right to call his unfounded accusations spiteful and cowardly.
The Mirror also states that he’s told Rodgers he doesn’t want to travel with the rest of the squad on our pre-season tour of the Far East, which begins this weekend, although he has still be included on the 30-man list.
This is merely the latest in a long-line of misdemeanours from a player who has far from a Suarez-esque record.
While he’s made impressive progress over the last couple of years, to consider himself above signing a new deal worth more than £100,000-per-week – as was offered (via The Telegraph) – is just deluded.
It’s understandable that he wants to play Champions League football, but it’s worth remembering that he’s 20 years old. His time will come. Surely loyalty dictates that he should owe us another season?
If he were to have signed that new deal, everyone would have won. There would have been no media furore. No abuse. No infamous BBC interview. No season finale with all eyes watching him when they should have been on our soon to be departing captain.
He would have had another year as a regular starter. He would have been able to play alongside another cluster of new signings in a team that has been strengthened again this summer. And if in a years time we had not returned to the top four, he could have left on good terms, with very few people questioning his decision. His debt would have been repaid and he could go to City with his head held high.
In reality, he’s facing up to life on the City bench or six months in the Liverpool reserves… whether this has all come from him, or his agent Aidy Ward, it’s easy to see that he has made some very poor decisions.
However, this is isn’t are problem. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. Why are we fighting so hard to keep someone who is such a distraction, such a frustration, such a greedy child with an exaggerated opinion of his own abilities?
It’s admirable that our owners want to stand by their word, prove that we’re not a selling club and show that we’re capable of fending off the interest of our Premier League rivals. But this isn’t Suarez…
Think of what we could do with £45m. Imagine if we bought in Marco Reus and Asier Illarramendi – as has been suggested by talkSPORT – or Pedro, as has also been rumoured in the Sport. Until Sterling goes, such scenarios are nothing more than a dream.
When we lost Suarez, we were left in the impossible situation of trying to replace the irreplaceable. By selling Sterling we would be acting smartly, realising that the move suits the player, the club and our future.
No one person is bigger than Liverpool Football Club. And when, in three of four years time, Sterling is looking back wistfully at his time with us and thinking about what might have been, then he’ll realise what a horrible mistake he’s made.