Liverpool and winger Raheem Sterling’s transfer and contract battle reached a new level when former captain Steven Gerrard shared his opinion on the ceaseless saga. Speaking with BBC Sport, the new Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder and Merseyside legend sided with his former club and said a Sterling transfer seemed not only imminent but necessary.
Claiming he was sick, Sterling sat out two days of training and has refused to travel with Liverpool during its preseason tour after the club rebuffed Manchester City’s £40 million bid earlier this week. Sterling made his return Friday.
"I'm not happy with all that carry-on. He needs to go in and see the owners," Gerrard said. "You don't have to throw in illness, or refuse to go on tour. There are millions of Liverpool fans waiting to see Raheem pull on a Liverpool shirt.
"It looks very disappointing from where I'm sitting. The fans have shown him great support, they want him to stay and I believe that he should too."
While essentially pulling all of his support from Sterling, Gerrard also questioned if all the hubbub surrounding the 20-year-old Englishman would have a lasting effect on his career.
"It's very difficult for me to sit here and support him and the team around him - what they're trying to do with his career at a young age.
"It'll be a terrible shame if he goes somewhere and doesn't kick on as a player."
Though Gerrard might have a point about the potential for Sterling to underperform wherever he lands, Manchester City do not seem discouraged at all. According to Daily Mail, Manuel Pellegrini’s side are preparing a third bid and are “confident” they won’t be held to Liverpool’s £50 million asking price.
The Mail reports City believes the rift between Sterling and Reds manager Brendan Rodgers will ultimately bring the price down. City’s first to bids were reportedly £35 million and £40 million.
Another factor to consider is the number of buyers interested in Sterling. For more than a month, City have consistently pursued Sterling as one of several targets part of a projected £100 million spending spree this summer to reclaim Premier League from Chelsea. But City has yet to make a single signing.
Thus far, City have stayed in the Sterling sweepstakes despite the early interest shown by Spanish giants Real Madrid and rivals Arsenal. Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez at first hoped to make Sterling his first splash signing as Madrid’s new manager, but the speculation of a switch to the Bernabeu has died down significantly.
The Gunners were the early favorites to snag Sterling, but Liverpool reportedly desired a player or two to be included in the package as they were unwilling to accept only monetary compensation.