It is fair to say that it has been a disappointing season at Anfield, with Liverpool not only being unsuccessful in repeating the wonderful feats achieved in 2013/2014, but also look set to finish outside the top four. Brendan Rodgers’ side never came close to mounting a serious title challenge, and although they have enjoyed a wonderful run of form in recent months, it has proved in vain at the 1-1 draw at champions Chelsea all but ended their hopes of playing Champions League football next season. A difficult campaign could be set to become even worse for Rodgers, with prize asset Raheem Sterling looking increasingly likely to leave the club as each day passes. The highly-talented 20-year-old has shown his undoubted potential and can be one of only a few players at Liverpool that can hold their head up high, but his refusal to sign a new contract worth £100,000-a-week has created growing friction that shows no signs of dispersing. A number of major clubs in England and across Europe have already begun queuing in the hope of luring Sterling, with www.bookies.com among a number of companies keeping tabs on potential destinations during the summer transfer window for the England international. Liverpool legend Phil Thompson believes that it is only a matter of time before Sterling leaves the club in what would be a major blow for Rodgers’ plans next season, and although some fans may believe that Sterling is only interested in money and not performing on the pitch, his contract dispute will unlikely to deter managers who have seen his qualities for club and country.
Losing Sterling to a Premier League rival would be a nightmare scenario for Liverpool, but with the player seemingly refusing to sign a new contract, it may be best to consider any offers for English clubs to prevent losing him for nothing. Arsenal are considered amongst the front-runners to sign the 20-year-old, and although Sterling has proven himself adept at playing as a striker, Arsene Wenger would be more likely to utilise his considerable pace and acceleration on the left or right wing. It would undoubtedly take a substantial fee to convince Liverpool to sell their star player to a rival, but Rodgers may look to utilise Arsenal’s interest by attempting to involve Theo Walcott in any kind of deal. The 26-year-old has endured an injury-hit season, but there is no doubting his qualities as a winger or striker when fully fit; securing a like-for-like replacement could be the best outcome for Liverpool, although it remains to be seen whether Wenger keeps faith with Walcott despite his injury problems.
Securing the services of talented English players is rumoured to be the remit in what has transformed into a crucial summer for Manchester City. Any transfer activity may ultimately depend on who is in charge, with Manuel Pellegrini’s position under threat following a hugely disappointing defence of their title which they practically surrendered to Chelsea. However, Sterling would undoubtedly fit into the category that Manchester City are currently searching for, and they have considerable financial firepower to provide Sterling with a huge salary which meets his demands.
Becoming the next ‘Galatico’ would go against those who believe he is not worth the £100,000-a-week he is asking for and should focus more on continuing to develop at Liverpool, but moving to Real Madrid is not beyond the realms of possibility for Sterling.
Zinedine Zidane has already revealed their interest, with the La Liga giants building a niche for signing the best players in Europe at any cost. His electric pace and directness would bring something different to the Bernabau, with the lure of playing for one of the best and most prestigious clubs in world football undoubtedly a telling factor that could tempt Sterling to move to Spain.