Even in the face of a messy contract and wage dispute that has spilled into the public's view, Liverpool have long contended that forward Raheem Sterling is under contract until 2019 and that they intend to keep it that way.
A massive offer from defending Premier League champions Manchester City just might give Reds manager Brendan Rodgers cause to reconsider Sterling’s future at Anfield. According to Daily Mail, City have honed in on the 20-year-old Englishman and plan to make his acquisition one of their top priorities during the summer transfer session starting July 1. The deep-pocketed club are evidently prepared to offer Liverpool £50 million for Sterling.
Should such a deal come to fruition, it’s a clever amount for City to hand the Reds. Sterling’s current market value hovers around £26 million, though English players tend to have more inflated fees in the Premier League than foreign players. Due to his ongoing contract dispute, and following the unauthorized interview he gave to BBC last month, Sterling hasn’t swayed much favor with the Anfield faithful, and as of right now most would likely be glad to see him walk after this season.
Sterling decided to table any more discussions with Liverpool about his current contract and wages until the end of the season, but he reportedly turned down a £100,000-per week offer.
Some would argue a player of Sterling’s caliber at such a young age, shouldn't be moved under any circumstances, even if that circumstance involves more than fair compensation. But Liverpool are all too familiar with jettisoning a top player for a huge fee.
The Reds attack hasn’t been nearly the same since Luis Suarez’s departure to Barcelona for more than £70 million last summer, and Rodgers’ acquisitions from the haul like Lazar Markovic, Rickie Lambert, and Mario Balotelli have not lived up to expectations.
Sterling’s scored 18 goals in 90 career appearances in a Liverpool kit, and seven of those goals have come this year, with many expecting Sterling to eventually mold into one of the best scorers in the league.
Assuming Liverpool and Rodgers do decide to accept City’s purported offer, the Reds may have some idea of how they will spend the haul.
Liverpool, reportedly, have long had eyes for Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. Daily Mirror reports Emirates officials are hoping to keep the 26-year-old from signing elsewhere this summer. Walcott has one year remaining on his current contract, worth £90,000 a week, but he’s expressed concern over his lack of first-team time since coming back from injury this year.
Walcott’s made only eight appearances and scored two goals this season, and he’s served as an unused sub in in three of the Gunners last five matches. No compensation figure was mentioned in the Mirror’s report, but despite his lack of pitch time Walcott’s current market value is still high at £24 million.
However, Liverpool could go much younger and snag Burnley’s 22-year-old striker Danny Ings, a move that’s been speculated for months. Until recently, the Reds seemed sure to land Ings, a budding scorer who has notched nine goals and four assists in 29 appearances this season.
Yet Louis van Gaal and Manchester United are evidently just as keen on Ings, Daily Mail also reported. The Old Trafford side have already held discussions with Burnley, and could undercut Rodgers’ attempts that reach back to January when Burnley decided not to part with Ings until after the season concluded.