Sitting in eighth place on the Premier League table, Liverpool are five points back of a coveted Champions League spot. It’s a particularly dreadful time for Brendan Rodgers’ side to fret over one of their top scorers, but the Reds could face a serious uphill battle trying to retain the services of forward Raheem Sterling.
All the moves that totaled more than £100 million in spending following the sale of striker Luis Suarez have still left Liverpool searching for consistency in the attack, which Sterling has been a consistent presence with seven goals in 31 appearances this season.
However, the 20-year-old reportedly turned down a second attempt by the Reds to re-sign him and now they might have to contend with both Real Madrid and Chelsea, according to Express.
The first-place La Liga squad, who are never shy or cheap when it comes to strengthening their attack, are evidently preparing a £26 million bid for Sterling. The Blues and manager Jose Mourinho likely aren’t too far behind Los Blancos in their bid either.
Rodgers told Express last week of Sterling’s content at Anfield, but obviously that was before Madrid reinserted themselves in the bidding.
"It is something the club are speaking with his representatives on and I would think that would be concluded very imminently," Rodgers said. "The player is very happy. It (the delay) is nothing to do with Raheem; he wants to be here. So hopefully we get the solution on that very soon."
Sterling and his representatives are likely aware of how valuable he is to the squad and will stall the talks to raise his market value across Europe.
Thus Liverpool could turn to several other options around the continent.
One move the Reds are reportedly “hoping” to make before the January transfer window shuts involves Paris Saint-Germain forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. The Argentine reportedly had a disagreement with manager Laurent Blanc, and he’s now “out of favor," which could be enough for PSG to ship him off to Anfield for £14 million, Express also reported.
The 29-year-old Lavezzi’s current contract runs until the end of next season, and he would at least help plug any attacking hole the Reds might have should Sterling head off to Spain or London. In two years at Parc des Princes, Lavezzi’s notched only 14 goals in 73 appearances, but he’s largely played behind or second-fiddle to Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Rodgers could go younger and instead attempt to swipe a budding star from rival Arsenal. According to Daily Mirror, Liverpool are showing heavy interest in 19-year-old striker Chuba Akpom. The young English star has only made two appearances on Arsene Wenger’s first team, and has spent much of the last year on loan to Brentford and Coventry City.
Arsenal are hoping to sign Akpom to a new three-year deal, Mirror reports, but he wants more first-team pitch time and would like to see where he fits in Wenger’s future plans.