Liverpool’s expected failure to regain entry into the Champions League for next season will inevitably make signing marquee players a tricky task this summer, but at least one of their own should be staying put.
Raheem Sterling has been a target of intense speculation since the midpoint of the season, when it came to light that the 20-year-old forward was in no rush to sign a contract extension at Anfield.
Real Madrid were the first name in the hat, but latterly outgoing Premier League champions Manchester City have expressed a strong interest in capturing the Reds top scorer this season.
Even though Sterling still has two years to run on his Liverpool deal, the fact he has snubbed a renewed contract worth £100k per week, an upgrade to the tune of £65k per week on his current wages, gave off the signal he was willing to leave this summer.
As City’s own title defence and yet another short-lived European campaign have highlighted, the need for an overhaul of their ageing squad is desperate and Sterling’s age and profile make him a highly-attractive prospect.
However, fresh reports now suggest that Liverpool have drawn a line in the sand, saying Sterling will not be going anywhere in the next transfer window, even if the net result means he ends up running his contract down .
The England regular will still be under the age of 23 if his contract is allowed to expire naturally, meaning under Premier League law a fee would still be expected to change hands.
Even though this would likely be something under the market value of the player, it’s a potential risk Liverpool are prepared to take in order to keep hold of their brightest prospect.
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