The BBC, who are famously careful and deliberately balanced in their reporting, claim that Manchester City have had a £25m bid for Liverpool’s seriously-unsettled forward Raheem Sterling rejected, although a number of other news sources suggest it was £30m.
Boss Brendan Rodgers insists he “expects” Sterling to hang around Anfield for the next couple of years until his contract runs out, but there must be a threshold that, once reached, the Reds would be forced to do business. There was for Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres after all.
That attacking pair’s reported £75m and £50m asking prices should serve as a guide, although the fact that Suarez had four years left to run on his contract means Sterling’s value will be significantly less.
Of course, we know as much just by glancing over the pair’s respective productivity rates; Suarez bagged 25 goals in 43 games for Barcelona this term, despite starting life at the Nou Camp sluggishly, with just one strike in his first eight appearances.
That was his worst all-competition haul in three seasons, and the 28-year-old has bagged at least 12 club goals in each of his past 10 campaigns, including a ridiculous tally of 49 in 48 outings for Ajax during 2009/10.
Sterling, on the other hand, managed a career-best 11 strikes in 47 matches this term, and didn’t exactly make up for such a comparatively-paltry figure with assists, laying on a moderate haul of seven in the Premier League.
In Sterling’s (or more accurately Liverpool’s) favour is his age and his Englishness, with City undoubtedly in the market for young, home-grown players now James Milner and Frank Lampard are heading for pastures new.
Furthermore, with Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and even Manchester United all credited with interest in the 20-year-old, the bidding could creep up once it gets going.
Sterling forged his Premier League reputation when coming to life during Liverpool’s surge to second place during the 2013/14 campaign, alongside Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson, all in the form of their lives, so his backers will insist the raw potential is there.
The fee? If any club offers £40m this summer (plus a pound maybe?) then the Reds will be forced to take a hard look at the numbers.
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