Incoming Real boss to butter Liverpool up over rebel winger?

Having announced his departure from Serie A club Napoli, it looks 99.9 per cent certain that Rafael Benitez will fill the vacant managerial role at Real Madrid, leading to speculation over possible transfer targets for the Spaniard.

Even before Benitez has officially been unveiled at the Bernabeu, let alone been given the guided tour, the Daily Mirror have skilfully placed two and two together to produce four.

The newspaper suggests that Rafa ‘wants to make Raheem Sterling one of his first transfer targets for Real Madrid’.

Although this revelation isn’t supported by a single quote or source, the reasoning behind it is fairly sensible at least.

Benitez’s links to Liverpool are far reaching and in this particular case the former Reds manager was instrumental in orchestrating Sterling’s original Anfield switch as a precocious teenager from QPR.

Although his dealings thereafter were probably fairly minimal given Sterling was still some way off his first-team debut, the existence of a mutual respect feels plausible.

More pertinently though, Sterling clearly wants out and Real Madrid have shown flashes of interest according to various media sources as this situation has emerged.

If Sterling is intent on winning trophies as a root cause of his problem with remaining at Anfield, then Europe’s most successful club couldn’t be a better fit.

Whether or not the 20-year-old is prepared to leave these shores, though, remains to be seen.

Ladbrokes still see Real quite a way down the pecking order to land Sterling this summer at 20/1, with Manchester City the most likely destination, at 6/4, according to the bookmaker.

Staying put is a 13/8 shot, while a return to his home town with Chelsea is 4/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.