Although Liverpool will have an emphasis on strengthening their squad this summer ahead of another push a top-four football next term, the Anfield outfit will also face a battle to prevent their contingent from getting weaker.
Raheem Sterling’s future has been a sore spot for the last number of months, with the England international refusing a new deal at the Merseyside club and seemingly pushing for an exit from from the Anfield outfit.
Although plenty of Premier League sides have been linked with a move for the flying winger, should one of the big European teams make a move for Sterling, Liverpool may well be tempted to cash-in.
The Jamaica-born talent is under contract with the Reds until 2017, but with it appearing that he has no inclination of extending this deal, Liverpool need to assess their options.
Real Madrid have been one of the teams on the continent that have been mentioned as potential suitors of the 20-year-old, with a plot twist at the Santiago Bernabeu this week.
Former Reds hero Rafa Benitez has been installed as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor following his departure from Napoli and will be charged with bringing the glory days back to the ten-time European champions.
With his link to the Merseyside club, the Spaniard has spoken out about Los Blancos’ potential interest in the English star.
“We admire Raheem, that’s no secret – but he is not one of our players so I can’t really comment on him,” The BBC quote Benitez as saying.
These comments have the ability to turn the attacker’s head, while also setting off alarm bells at Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers found out with Luis Suarez that if one of Europe’s biggest clubs come in for a Reds player, there is little that can be done to avoid the inevitable departure; not many teams can stand up to the financial mite of the Clasico powerhouses.
If Sterling continues to play hardball this summer and makes his intention to leave clear, it will be a major headache for Rodgers and his side in a period where the club should be getting stronger through recruitment rather than weaker.
A major player pushing for a move elsewhere has the potential to upset the collective applecart, and even if Liverpool keep Sterling against his will it could create an unpleasant atmosphere in the dressing room.
Selling the star to Madrid rather than Manchester City or Arsenal would surely be preferable and would allow the Reds to reinvest the transfer fee on other players.
Just where the young Englishman would fit in at Madrid remains to be seen, with Ancelotti sticking with the trusted trident of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema throughout his stint as the team’s boss.
Breaking into the capital city side’s starting XI is an unenviable task given the quality at Benitez’s disposal, but it could well be the making of Sterling and a step towards the game’s summit.
Liverpool will have to brace themselves; a transfer whirlwind is coming.