Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has dismissed suggestions that Raheem Sterling could leave Anfield, with rumors continuing to link the England international with a move to Real Madrid. The 19-year-old has become a key figure for Liverpool in the past year, reportedly sparking the interest of the Spanish giants. However, Rodgers has outlined his confidence that Sterling will agree to improved terms on a contract that is set to expire in 2017.
“It is not a big issue for us,” he said, according to the Liverpool Echo. “[Chief executive] Ian Ayre has spoken to his representatives and is quite relaxed. The club is dealing with the agent so everything is calm. The boy is remarkably happy here and there are no secondary thoughts about anything else other than continuing to play for Liverpool and he still has a lot of growth and for that the best place for him to be is here. His representatives know that and we as a club respect that so that will get sorted out with time.”
Sterling Is currently thought to be earning £30,000 a week, a figure that he and his representative will be all too aware could be greatly improved elsewhere. Certainly that would be the case at Real Madrid. It would also be true at Paris Saint-Germain, which are similarly ready to try and lure Sterling away from Anfield, according to The Independent.
The link between Sterling and Real Madrid raises one obvious question, though: how would he possibly fit into Carlo Ancelotti’s side? Madrid’s attacking options around a central striker are already overflowing, following the signing of Colombian star James Rodriguez to join Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. It is clearly already a struggle for Ancelotti to fit them all into a balanced side.
It raises the thought that the interest in Sterling could be linked to doubts over the future of Ronaldo and/or Bale. There continues to be much speculation that Ronaldo could move back to Manchester United. It was widely reported last month that the Premier League club had assessed the size of the financial package that would be required to facilitate a return to the venue where his talent blossomed for six years before joining Real Madrid for a then record £80 million transfer fee in 2009. Ronaldo has also repeatedly made clear his continuing affection for United. However, the Portuguese star only signed a new five-year deal last September and he is currently enjoying some of the best form of his career, having made it three hat-tricks in four league games in a 5-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
British tabloid the Daily Star has now reported that Manchester United are turning their attentions to Bale. The story refers to reports in Spain suggesting that Bale’s place in the Real Madrid lineup is under threat after a poor start to the season. Yet it seems difficult to envisage Real Madrid being willing to cash in on a player who they made the most expensive in history just over a year ago and who played a key part in the club’s “La Decima” triumph last season. His start to this campaign has hardly been too shabby, either, and his performance was singled out for praise by Ancelotti on Sunday.