It’s the summer transfer window, and obviously that means there needs to be at least one long, drawn out transfer saga involving a want-away player and a club placing a strict market value price on the player. This summer’s major one is none other than Raheem Sterling.
The 20 year old Liverpool star has refused numerous contract offers, and called in sick for his first two training sessions this week. He has finally reported for training on Friday, but has told the Liverpool hierarchy that he doesn’t want to travel with the squad on Sunday for their pre-season tour in Thailand, Malaysia, and Australia.
The petulance shown by a fairly unproven prospect makes for an unsavoury saga on a whole, and I feel that Liverpool are doing the right thing by holding out on giving him what he wants.
Manchester City have already had a number of official bids for Raheem Sterling rejected by Liverpool, with Liverpool adamant that they will not sell him for less than £50 million.
The Race for Sterling
At the moment, the only club who seems even remotely interested in shelling out the £50 million asking price for Raheem Sterling is Manchester City, with SkyBet offering a measly 1/12 odds that Raheem Sterling will sign for them before the end of the summer transfer window.
Other clubs have been rumoured to be interested in the young winger. Among those was Real Madrid, who stated their interest back in January. However, their interest seems to have fallen off the radar and they are now 20/1 to sign Sterling this summer.
Another possible move he could make is to Chelsea. Jose Mourinho has asked for more resources to work with from owner Roman Abramovich, as he looks to further strengthen his squad ahead of their defence of the Premier League.
Where Would Raheem Sterling Fit In?
With Manchester City seemingly very close to bringing Sterling into their ranks, we should talk about where he would fit in to their squad.
At Liverpool, Raheem Sterling slots into a largely free role just behind the main striker. He will often start on either the right of left wing, and then chop and change positions to get the maximum amount of space to run in to.
However, when he is among the more talented Manchester City squad, he is unlikely to get the same level of freedom as he does under Brendan Rodgers.
With David Silva remaining as the key playmaker in the Manchester City first team, Raheem Sterling would often be required to stay out on the wings.
There, his competition would be the likes of Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri. Nasri prefers to play out on the left side of midfield so he can cut in to provide through balls for Aguero and crack off his excellent long shots. Navas is more of an out and out winger, providing excellent pace on the break for Manchester City.
However, apart from pace, Navas doesn’t offer that much. His crossing, passing, and shooting are all lacking a special quality, so that is who Sterling is likely to replace.
It’s unsurprising that Real Madrid haven’t followed up with their interest. They have their midfield well and truly covered with Ronaldo, Bale, Isco, and James Rodriguez. If Sterling did move to Madrid, I would expect him to spend an awful lot of time sitting on the bench.
Chelsea are another option for the youngster. Eden Hazard has the left wing well and truly covered, so he wouldn’t be fitting in to the squad in that position. Oscar has been very good since moving to Chelsea, but is not unmovable from the attacking midfield position in the squad. But, like Liverpool, he would most likely replace Willian and Cuadrado on the right side of midfield.
I don’t think the strikers would benefit from this change though. Costa and Falcao will be relying on excellent delivery from the right wing due to their ability in the air, but Raheem Sterling has shown that he can be fairly selfish, and prefers to take on players, get into the box, and have a shot himself rather than whip a ball in to the strikers.
Where is Best for Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterlin obviously has his heart set on leaving Anfield this summer, and for me there looks to be only one positive destination for him.
Manchester City have shown a lot of interest in the player and, should they splash out £50 million on him, they will need to put him on the pitch often to justify their purchase.
Jesus Navas doesn’t offer a great deal in terms of quality, and they are lacking any other right wingers of any quality at the moment. This means that, if Navas is rested, Manchester City must sacrifice their threat down the centre of the park by putting Milner or Silva out on the right.
There is a definite spot in that squad for the likes of Raheem Sterling, and whilst his teammates won’t necessarily benefit from his addition, the potential of Sterling is beyond doubt. If he fulfills this potential, improves his passing and crossing, and works on reducing his selfishness, the likes of Aguero and Bony will benefit greatly from his delivery.
But, at 20 years of age and having only scored 18 goals and provided 14 assists in his 92 Premier League appearances, is he really worth an outlay of £50 million? I’m unsure of that, and I think his agent and the media have done a great job in overhyping another young English talent.
But if he must make a big money move so early in his career, I think Manchester City is the only positive destination for him, as the likes of Real Madrid would potentially destroy his career due to inactivity.